By John M. Urbancich
Call it cool, mediocre, or a Hollywood insider’s version of “Crash,” but you have to respect the way Kevin Spacey dominates the screen as the “Shrink.” He’s psychiatrist to the stars Henry Carter, now spending his nights in a weed-induced stupor after days bored by industry-connected regulars, as well as his own best-selling celebrity.
Then a normal teen-ager (Keke Palmer) from the other side of the hills enters the title character’s circle as a pro-bono referral from his own therapist/father (Robert Loggia). You see, Palmer’s Jemma and her newfound confidante share a not-so-secret crisis that plays less remarkably and flamboyantly than the problems of some other players in this small movie with a big scope from director Jonas Pate.
The first-time helmer got the likes of Robin Williams (as an alcoholic actor), Saffron Burrows (aging actress), Dallas Roberts (paranoid agent), and, in a cameo, even Gore Vidal (grumpy talk-show host) to join a mostly competent ensemble cast.
Jack Huston, Pell James, Laura Ramsey and Mark Webber run in and out of all the intersecting lives, too. Unfortunately for Carter – but very fortunately for us – the most consistently likable supporting performer becomes Jesus, the pot dealer (Jesse Plemons) who meets him inside car washes, golf driving ranges, and anywhere else the barely responsive doctor can use the most advanced forms of, uh, special counseling.
Spacey plays the gig to the hilt, whether it’s during his frequent self-“medication” sessions, dissing his own self-help book on TV, or mostly trying to avoid his clichéd assortment of impatient patients. If only the painless resolution to it all delivered from Pate and debut screenwriter Thomas Moffett were as easy to embrace.
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Keke Palmer, Robin Williams, Saffron Burrows, Dallas Roberts, Robert Loggia, Jesse Plemons
Director: Jonas Pate
Studio/Official Site: http://www.shrinkthemovie.net/
[John M. Urbancich has been reviewing movies and writing film features and celebrity profiles at Cleveland’s Sun Newspapers for 25 years. As a longtime member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, his work has been appearing on the Sun News website for more than a decade. John also regularly updates his own site at www.JMuvies.com ]