Of the many strange and altogether unbelievable characters in the bizarre and goofy “Pulp Fiction” knockoff that is “Reach Me,” the most amazing is Sylvester Stallone’s newspaper editor.
Stallone’s Gerald wears a porkpie hat, dines at posh restaurants, wears expensive suits, drives a car that costs well into the six figures and paints abstract art in a giant studio. (I think there might be just a hint of the real Sylvester Stallone in this character.) He is a man of great wealth and power, and he verbally abuses the one reporter we ever see him interacting with, telling in thunderous tones he’s never going to write that novel or even graduate from gossip reporting to hard news.
It’s nuts is what it is.
This whole movie is crazy, with all sorts of well-known folks stumbling and bumbling about in search of a character. At times “Reach Me” is undeniably intriguing, mostly because it’s just so weird and disconnected. Eventually, though, it just becomes tiresome.
Here we go. Lots of story threads, and yes, nearly all of them interconnect in the big finale.
Kyra Sedgwick is Colette, fresh out of a three-year stint in prison for setting fire to her house after learning her husband was having an affair. Elizabeth Henstridge is her niece, an actress who’s British, and why not.
Kelsey Grammer and Tom Sizemore are mobsters.
Danny Aiello is a gruff priest with a drinking problem.
Nelly is a hip-hop artist named E-Ruption.
Rebekah Chaney is a low-level criminal’s girlfriend. Her name is Denise-Denise. Just like the old song! Too funny.
Lauren Cohan from “The Walking Dead” is Kate, who used to have a stuttering problem and a cleft lip, but now has just the cleft lip.
And then there’s Thomas Jane as Wolfie, who has the haircut of a roadie for Spinal Tap and wears red pants ALL THE TIME. Not the best look for an undercover cop who can’t get through most days without gunning down a few bad guys.
Kevin Connolly from “Entourage” is Roger, a reporter tasked with unmaking the true identity of the mysterious Teddy, who has written a mega-selling self-help book but is ducking all interviews. (Judging by the hackneyed, clichéd advice dispensed in excerpts we hear from the book, there’s no reason it should have been published, let alone become a bestseller.)
Many of the characters in our story have been deeply affected by the book; it has literally changed their lives. Colette the convict wants to make a difference. A dimwitted henchman no longer has an appetite for violence. E-Ruption, also fresh out of prison, goes on TV and sounds like a late-night pitchman, telling everyone if they’re not happy with their lives, it’s up to THEM to make some changes!
At times it almost feels as if writer-director John Herzfeld is going for a parody of “Crash,” with all these interwoven stories taking place in and around Redondo Beach. But there’s very little social commentary laced in with the bursts of violence and oddball romances. Most of these allegedly colorful characters are mere sketches, given an affectation or two to run with and left to meander in and out of the story.
Although I have to say, that Stallone character is so bananas I kind of dug him. If this isn’t the most insanely off-point portrayal of a newspaper editor in the history of cinema, I’ll take your nominations.
Millennium Entertainment presents a film written and directed by John Herzfeld. Running time: 92 minutes. Rated PG-13 (for sexual content, violence, language, drug use, and smoking). Opens Friday at AMC South Barrington 30 and on demand.