REACH ME -Blu-ray review

How’s this for a tortured metaphor? While watching “Reach Me,” I was reminded of ads from a certain national taco chain. You know, where a stentorian voice-over exhorts the glories of yet another Python-esque variation on the Mexican food crunchy/soft paradigm (“grilled Spam-crunch soft Spam-wrapped taco Spam supreme”). What’s the point, I always want to yell at the TV. Wrap it and stack it any order you want, when its wretched on top of godawful, it makes no never mind.

Written and directed by John Herzfeld, “Reach Me’ is a sodden crunchwrap of a movie, stacking stale on top of gristly on top of doughy. It tells the tale of a self-help book that “goes viral,” the book’s reclusive author who has troubles of his own, and the crowd of assorted cops, convicts, rappers, priests, actors and henchmen whose lives are changed by the book. The sprawling chorus line of a cast includes Sylvester Stallone, Tom Berenger, Danny Aiello, Tom Sizemore, Kyra Sedgwick, Thomas Jane, Nelly, Lauren Cohan, Kelsey Grammer and a bad tempered weiner dog,

It’s reminiscent of Herzfeld’s earlier, and much more entertaining, “Two Days In The Valley,” with its overlapping narratives and large cast. Not too surprising, since the script was written in 2001, only four years after “Two Days.” It’s been awaiting daylight since then, and like that gordita in my ridiculous opening paragraph, the aging process has not been kind.

I suppose it’s possible, through some perverse manipulation of logic and taste, to view “Reach Me” as an arch satire aimed at multi-strand, converging-plot dramas like “Crash.” In some other alternate universe, where Lincoln shoot Booth and “Twin Peaks” is still on the air, one might be able to do the mental gymnastics necessary. Though this is probably the only way to get much enjoyment out of this misbegotten exercise, that’s clearly not what the filmmakers had in mind here.

As drama, it’s laughably contrived, and as satire, it’s even weaker. It shouts and shakes, practically quivering with pop-cultural earnestness, but so ineffectual and misguided, and so poorly staged and reasoned that it stiff-arms you into distant bemusement or fits of unintended giggles.

After sitting in a desk drawer for thirteen years, “Reach Me” finally got made through a Kickstarter campaign. Those who participated in the crowd funding might perhaps slink away in penitent silence and think more carefully about they spend their money in the future.

Video:
The Blu-ray of “Reach Me” is presented in 16×9 widescreen. Picture quality is fine but unremarkable, and there are options for English, English SDH and Spanish subtitles.

Audio:
The audio track is a bland but functional Dolby 5.1 True HD, with an option for Stereo 2.0 set-up.

Extras:
There are no extras on this disc.

Parting thoughts:
Overwrought when it reaches for drama, and flat when it tries for funny, “Reach Me” can’t get much of a hold on anything or anyone.

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