Shrink DVD Review

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Shrink is not your typical Hollywood movie, or rather movie about Hollywood, and Kevin Spacey as Dr. Henry Carter is in no way your typical shrink. Sporting a dense five o’clock shadow and in a deep funk these days, while primarily prone when not smoking joints in the shower and grabbing a razor while forgetting that he doesn’t shave, Carter is a celebrity therapist to the stars who hasn’t a clue about curing himself. And in this both sharp-witted and exceedingly poignant cross-cultural satire about the assorted nuts inhabiting the city, Tinseltown undergoes an analysis on screen that cuts fiercely, right through all the artificial local hype.

And though a best-selling author of a self-help guide, Stop Feeling Bad, Carter no longer believes a word of it, and even less in himself, while wondering if he may be suffering from something he labels ‘compassion fatigue syndrome.’ At the same time, his procession of outrageous pity party patients seem to be getting kookier by the minute, though it may be the 24/7 weed influencing Carter’s professional perceptions. And the beauty of this script is one never knows. The dazed doctor even finds himself consulting his wacky dealer Jesus (Jesse Plemons), of all people, if he thinks the shrink may have a drug problem.

Though a little too interconnected when it comes to narrative coincidences, the emotional intensity laced with deliciously dark humor outweighs the gimmickry. Especially periodic vignettes whose lunatic dialogue burrows mercilessly into the financially driven, callous soul of the calculated nonsense that passes for creativity in Hollywood. And channeled particularly through the nasty neo-screwball wit of Dallas Roberts’ freaky super-neurotic studio head honcho, appalled by his own depraved genius and resentful of the distracted shrink who’s not in the mood to cure him. But if nothing else, the movie Shrink is just the medicine Hollywood could use right about now, in heavy doses.

Lionsgate

Rated R

3 1/2 stars

DVD Features: Audio Commentary with director Jonas Pate and producer Braxton Pope; On-Camera Interviews with director Jonas Pate and Braxton Pope; Music Video: Here, by jackson Browne; Deleted Scenes.

Prairie Miller is a New York multimedia journalist online, in print and radio, who reviews movies and conducts in-depth interviews. She can also be heard on WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network’s Arts Express.