INTERACTIVE (Rate the Review)

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Cinema Signal: Not quite a green light but has elements of strong appeal for a limited audience.

Sing Like an American Idol, Women's Edition
Everything You Need to Sing the Hits!

(Discounted Paperback (with CD) from Amazon)
. "Shrink"

This Hollywood multi-story weaves itself with the threads of characters who, according to the official description, live "outside their comfort zone and the people who put them there." Could it be that the pot-smoking psychiatric mess who is the shrink of the title is, at least, one of the twisted... er... guilty ones?

As directed by Jonas Pate, the movie goes out of its way to put each story thread in the path of another until the pattern forms clusters of interrelationships. It could be called tending to your knitting, in terms of a screenwriting plan (by Thomas Moffett), but the most impressive virtue of the outcome is the distinguished cast rather than the narrative, which can be caustic, depressing, difficult to follow and superficially complex. It's also quite funny in its ironic-satiric shadings of the subculture of movie aspiration.

Shrink Henry Carter (Kevin Spacey), the center of gravity for all the constellation groupings among his clientele, enjoys his weed more than them, for whom he shows little ability to provide much help or relief. Despite the limitation, however, the client list includes a once-famous actress (the under-rated, beautiful Saffron Burrows); a beginning screenwriter with one script under his belt (Mark Webber) until obsessive-compulsive superagent Patrick's (Dallas Roberts) assistant (Pell James) reads it and tells him it's good but it's been done and he should write another which she'll get to her boss if she likes it. In one of the most forced and untenable cute meets I've seen, he bumps into troubled Jemma Brown (Keke Palmer) who is another major thread in all this, and writes her story, presumably with the help of her psychiatric file.

The tart drama also rounds up the extraordinary likes of Gore Vidal, Robert Loggia (the shrink's dad Robert), Griffin Dunne, Robin Williams (who probably needs therapy worst of all) and other travelers through these frames. The result is fascinating but not exactly ground breaking. It probes and exposes a bit of the shadowy entrails of the glamour capital but illuminating depth is not its most therapeutic effect. Should raise some interest from fan followers, at least initially, but likely to seek the video bins in short order.

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                                      ~~  Jules Brenner  

[Update: Since I wrote that, the DVD has been announced for a quick release on the heels of the theatrical release. Movie opens in limited release on July 24; the DVD releases August 27th (subject to change). ~ Jb]


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Kevin Spacey as shrink Henry Carter
The center of gravity for a constellation of troubled Hollywood stars

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