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SHRINK (director: Jonas Pate; screenwriters: Thomas Moffett/story by Henry Reardon; cinematographers: Lukas Ettling/Isaac Phillips; editor: Luis Carballar; music: Ken Andrews/Brian Reitzell; cast: Kevin Spacey (Henry Carter), Mark Webber (Jeremy), Saffron Burrow (Kate Amberson), Joel Gretch (Evan), Robin Williams (Holden), Pell James (Daisy), Jack Huston (Shamus), Dallas Roberts (Patrick), Laura Ramsey (Keira), Keke Palmer (Jemma), Joseph A. Nuñez (Recording Supervisor), Robert Loggia (Robert Carter, Henry’s father); Runtime: 104; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Micael Burns/Dana Brunette/Kevin Spacey/Braxton Pope; Roadside Attractions; 2009)
“Filled with cliches.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Jonas Pate(“Deceiver”/”The Grave”) and writer Thomas Moffett can’t do much with Henry Reardon’s flimsy and dispiriting story. To boot, it is annoyingly shot on digital video. The message delivered is for the regular folks not to be envious of the privileged stars because their life is also filled with grief and misfortune. While telling of the shallow lifestyle in Hollywood, the film seems just as shallow.

Kevin Spacey is the jaded, pothead, best-selling author of self-help books and the uncaring depressed psychotherapist to the stars, who has gone to seed after his wife’s suicide. In an episodic fashion, it follows the LA shrink at work with his self-absorbed patients. They include an aging Hollywood glamor couple past their prime (Saffron Burrows and her cheating rocker hubby-Joel Gretch); a melancholy, sex addict and alcoholic (Robin Williams); the druggie Irish actor (Jack Huston); the troubled aspiring screenwriter Mark Webber; and the germaphobic super-agent Dallas Roberts.

Spacey also gets to treat a traumatized black high school student (Keke Palmer), who is a delinquent and her mom also committed suicide without telling why.

One of Spacey’s patients, Webber, steals Keke’s case file from the shrink and knocks off a screenplay about her life and hands it over to the super-agent’s single pregnant assistant (Pell James), who not only gets it to her boss for a movie project but immediately falls in love with Webber.

The ensemble cast and Spacey give it the good ole college try, but the film is leaden and filled with cliches and too many pat situations. The moral pronouncements land with thuds, the comedy doesn’t materialize and the credibility factor hits bottom. This is the kind of emotionally contrived film where the viewer should legally be allowed to self-medicate, other wise it might be dangerous to their mental health.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”