There are few working filmmakers who have ever had a run of titles as good as the ones at the start of Rob Reiner's career, and yet these days, his name has very little value with film geeks. Why is that?
Seriously, look at the first decade's worth of films he directed. It's pretty stunning. "This Is Spinal Tap." "The Sure Thing." "Stand By Me." "The Princess Bride." "When Harry Met Sally." "Misery." "A Few Good Men." "North." Oh... wait... "North." That's what happened. That's right. I remember how shocking that misstep seemed at the time, too, considering how dead on his instincts had been up till that point. I count at least two classics in that first decade, maybe four. That's an insane batting average.
One flop, though, and it seems like it just plain winded him. Since then, his output has been uneven at best. I know plenty of people who love "The American President," and I'd argue without that film, there would have been no "The West Wing." But "Ghosts Of MIssissippi," "The Story Of Us," "Alex & Emma"... these are films that feel like they were just churned out by development robots, not movies that feel like they come from the warm, human, gentle place of compassion that Reiner's earlier films all obviously shared. "Rumor Has It" almost doesn't count since it was a last-minute thing for him, stepping in when Ted Griffin got booted from his film, and "The Bucket List" made a lot of money even though I found it intolerable.
What Reiner has needed for a while is a film that showcases all of his strengths, a reminder of why we liked and even loved him in the first place.
"Flipped" is that movie.