On almost every conceivable level, Reach Me is a failure. I can’t think of anyone who could look at this movie and think that it’s worth seeing. Obviously someone thought it was worth releasing, but in all honesty, for most of the talent involved, it would have been better to keep it shelved until it could be stealthily released into the bargain bins at your local supermarket. Seriously, this is some of the worst filmmaking that has been released in 2014, and this is a year that saw That Awkward Moment get a theatrical release (although this is better, slightly).
Lacking a plot, purpose, or any discernible themes, Reach Me instead decides to throw a bevy of actors at us, all of whom are playing incredibly one-dimensional characters — and playing them poorly — and giving them a few scenes in which they get to act terribly and do absolutely nothing of interest, and then call the film “inspirational.” I’m sorry, but no. Just because all of the characters are technically impacted by a self-help book doesn’t mean that the film is at all relaying those messages to the audience.
There isn’t a leading character or story, because you can pay actors less if you only make them film four scenes that barley have any relevance to anything. The most well-known actor is probably Sylvester Stallone here playing — get this — a gossip-site editor. No, really. How ridiculous does that sound on paper? Well, it’s worse in the film. Thomas Jane reprises his role as The Punisher (kind of, although he’s not called that in the film). That’s kind of fun. He kills bad people, though, and does so out of the kindness of his heart or something. These two characters might interact once, if at all.
There’s also a self-help book, written by a man played by Tom Berenger. Teddy, I think is the character’s name. He is, ironically, afraid of crowds, so he won’t do any press, despite the book helping lots of people. A journalist, Roger (Kevin Connolly) hopes to seek him out. Meanwhile, a gangster (Tom Sizemore) is having his bodyguards (Omari Hardwick and David O’Hara) find a guy who owes him money. The bodyguards read the book and are having second thoughts. And … there are more storylines.
None of them will resonate, none of them have any purpose, and the way they connect to each other is through this book, whose passages are read to us and sound basically like standard self-help affair. Few of the messages within are actually relayed to the audience through the character’s actions, and when they are it’s done as superficially as possible. You won’t care.
Almost as important: Reach Me is really, really boring. Not much happens. People talk about nothing in particular — there isn’t much inspirational to be found in their conversations, either, I’m sure you’ll be shocked to learn. They each only get one personality trait, and once you find that out, there’s nothing else for them to offer as characters. To be fair, some of them are in the film for such little time that this is all you’d learn anyway. Actors like Kelsey Grammer and Danny Trejo have a grand total of one scene each.
How did a film like this attract this sort of cast? It’s painfully bad from start to finish. It’s toneless, directionless, pointless, and not worth your time. The actors seem like they were given the bare minimum and forced to improvise. Was that how thin the script was? Even so, the same person directed and wrote the film: John Herzfeld. Was the film butchered by a studio? It’s hard to imagine that a director who has worked for 30+ years would wind up with something this horrible.
Reach Me is without purpose, direction, and it is a bore from start to finish. Its characters are one-dimensional and have nothing to offer, and the film as a whole aims to be inspirational but will fail to resonate with practically anyone who watches it. There are lofty aims to be found in Reach Me, but it seems way out of the filmmakers’ talent to even come remotely close to achieving them. This is the type of film that should’ve been scrapped, not released. It does nothing for anyone involved or anyone subjected to sitting through it.