Shrink (R15)

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Review byMatthew Turner8/06/2010

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 104 mins

For the most part, Shrink is an engaging multi-character drama enlivened by strong performances, but it's slightly spoiled by a trite climax that lacks emotional impact and fails to convince.

What's it all about?
Directed by Jonas Pate and set in modern-day Los Angeles, Shrink stars Kevin Spacey as Henry Carter, a depressed celebrity psychiatrist whose response to a recent personal tragedy is to lose himself in a haze of booze and marijuana. After a family intervention fails to have the desired effect, Henry's father (Robert Loggia) forces him to take on the case of a troubled teenager (Keke Palmer as Jemma) with a similar problem, in the hopes that in helping her he'll be able to help himself.

Meanwhile, Henry's Hollywood patients don't seem to notice that he's not in much of a state to be able to help anyone and chatter away regardless: manic agent Patrick (Dallas Roberts) struggles with OCD and germophobia, fading star Kate (Saffron Burrows) worries about getting older, Hollywood superstar Jack (Robin Williams) attempts to get Henry's permission to cheat on his wife and Henry's godson Jeremy (Mark Webber) is having trouble with writer's block.

The Good
Spacey is excellent as Carter, delivering a strongly sympathetic performance that can safely be described as vanity-free, since he spends the entire film looking like he hasn't slept in weeks. Palmer is superb as Jemma and there's colourful support from Roberts, Webber, Laura Ramsey (as a starlet on the make) and Pell James (who also served as co-producer) as Patrick's sweet-natured and heavily pregnant assistant Daisy.

The Bad
The main problem is that the script does a terrific job of making us care about Henry but fails to give anyone else the same emotional depth. For example, Jemma's tragic past is left frustratingly vague and it's hard to like Jeremy when he's prepared to exploit Jemma for his own gain. The result of this is that the climax of the film seems trite and contrived and lacks the required emotional impact.

Worth seeing?
Shrink is worth watching for the performances and for its offbeat perspective on LA life, but it's ultimately let down by a contrived ending that fails to convince on an emotional level.

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Content updated: 24/09/2018 12:35

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