A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Reach Me is a dramedy about the effects that a self-help book has on a group of people. One character is a trigger-happy cop who shoots and kills -- or beats up -- several characters. There's additional shouting and fighting, plus a car crash and a biting dog. The top of a female character's naked bottom is shown (another sports revealing lingerie), and a woman playing an actress is coerced into removing her bra (out of view) on a movie set (tops of shoulders shown); she's later touched against her will under the covers (also out of view). Language includes several uses of "s--t," "t-ts," "bitch," "ass," and more, and there's some smoking -- both cigarettes and a fake joint (it's oregano). The self-improvement aspect might spark discussion among teens and parents.
What's the story?
After turning her life around with the assistance of a self-help book called Reach Me, Colette (Kyra Sedgwick) is released from prison. She meets her niece, Eve (Elizabeth Henstridge), and they subsequently get in a car accident with trigger-happy cop Wolfie (Thomas Jane). Many others, including a rapper (Nelly) and a hit man (David O’Hara), have also been moved by the book, and a would-be novelist working as a gossip reporter, Roger (Kevin Connolly), is charged by his tough-talking boss (Sylvester Stallone) to find the reclusive author (Tom Berenger). But will bringing him into the open undo all the work he's done?
Is it any good?
Writer/director John Herzfeld (Two of a Kind, 2 Days in the Valley, 15 Minutes) crowdfunded this movie and must have called in every favor he had to find his incredible cast. Perhaps he was hoping to change the world with REACH ME, but what he ended up with is a toneless mess that's more chaotic than soul-searching, more irritating than meditative.
The high-pitched quality of the direction suggests that maybe all of this was supposed to be funny, but nothing here inspires laughter. The characters might have generated some sympathy if they weren't spread so thin and forced into awkward situations. A cop always seems to be shooting people and then goes to a priest to confession. An editor yells at everyone and then goes home and tries to paint. And a journalist falls in love with the one person who can best help him. Not even the wide-ranging talent of this hardworking cast can help fill in Reach Me's peculiar blanks.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Reach Me's violence. What purpose does it serve in a movie that's about personal growth? Could the story have been told without it?
Why are self-help books popular? Do they actually help?
Why did the author of the book wish to stay hidden? Why are the reporters so interested in exposing him?
How does the movie portray smoking? Does it have realistic consequences?
- In theaters: November 21, 2014
- On DVD or streaming: December 30, 2014
- Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Thomas Jane, Kevin Connolly
- Director: John Herzfeld
- Studio: Millennium Entertainment
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 95 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: sexual content, violence, language, drug use, and smoking