In Hollywood, people in need revolve around Dr. Henry Carter, a shrink: Jack, an aging star wants permission to cheat on his wife; Shamus is a director who's a cokehead; Patrick is a high-powered germophobic producer; Jeremy is a young writer looking for a break; Jemma, a high-school student, is skipping school; and Kate is an actress facing her mid-30s. Henry's wife recently died; he's grieving, blaming himself, smoking lots of pot. Henry's friends try an intervention; someone steals a patient's file from Henry; Patrick's assistant, the pregnant Daisy, sees promise in Jeremy's work; and, Jesus, Henry's drug dealer, sells him some potent weed. Can anything good come of this?Written by
Shrink stars Kevin Spacey as Henry Carter, a psychiatrist who's fortune and fame just doesn't seem to matter any more after the loss of his wife. Now is the time to cope, and that is something that he just cannot deal with. Instead he goes into a downward spiral of self pity, denial, and drug use.
Basically it is going to take a lot for Dr. Carter to see what he is doing to himself. What unfolds is a Crash-like web of interweaving stories that end up coming together in the end. There is the agent, his taken for granted secretary, the up and coming movie star, the aging movie star, the drug dealer, the distracted and misguided teenager, the young, talented, and undiscovered writer, and of course, the shrink. I might have even missed a character or two.
This film means well. It has some good characters and a good direction of where it is going. The only problem is that it has too much going on. Films like Pulp Fiction and Crash have a lot of characters and subplots going on, but the material is so rich and powerful that is can support big twists, connections, and revelations. This film just doesn't have enough "umph" to get off the ground.
Spacey does a pretty decent job at portraying Dr. Carter. He is mostly deadpan and emotionless, with the exception of a few revealing scenes. Other than that he doesn't show off too much of his skill, just fulfills the role of his character. I was pleased with Robin Williams performance as the aging actor trying to find himself during a late mid-life crisis.
What would have made this film better would be to limit the number of stories going on, following just a few, or maybe even one. I think Spacey's conflict is enough to carry a film. It also would have given him more freedom to explore his character. There is a lot going on under the surface that we only get to see for a little while. I wanted more. I wanted something like in American Beauty where we get to see everything that the character has to offer. It's like watching the metamorphosis of a butterfly. Each stage is so defined and clearly labeled. Here we just see a few rises and falls, and that's about it.
It's a pretty run of the mill indie dramedy with a few laughs here, a few tears there, and nothing really outstanding going on otherwise. I wouldn't say avoid it, but I wouldn't go out of my way to find it. You will not need therapy after viewing this, that's for sure.
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