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Shrink
DVD disk
Oct 7, 2009 By: Chris Bumbray
Shrink order download
Director:
Jonas Pate

Actors:
Kevin Spacey

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A pot-smoking, alcoholic, Hollywood psychiatrist (Kevin Spacey) in the midst of a nervous breakdown, struggles to cope with his demanding patients; including an obsessive compulsive agent (Dallas Roberts), a sex obsessed superstar (Robin Williams) and an aging starlet (Saffron Burrows). Meanwhile, as a pro-bono case, hes forced to take on a young, intelligent but troubled high school student (Keke Palmer), whos issues hit a little to close to home for the emotionally isolated shrink.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
SHRINK is a one of those middle of the road indie flicks that, despite an intriguing concept, and a solid cast, never really made much of a mark theatrically. It came out in VERY limited release earlier this summer, and while it met with respectful, if not overly enthusiastic reviews, never really caught on. This is a shame, as it marks the return of Kevin Spacey to his indie roots, and features his best performance in ages.

I think the problem is that this film has too much in common with the recent HBO show, IN TREATMENT. Both are about troubled psychiatrists dealing with a variety of patients, and being a ninety minute film, SHRINK cant help but pale somewhat in comparison- although I still think its a damn fine film. Spacey really does get a lot more to work with here than hes had in a while, and I was impressed by the way he really allowed himself to sink into his role. Hes actually quite convincing as a shrink mid-meltdown, and his climatic meltdown, opposite Gore Vidal of all people (playing himself) is extremely well played. Between this, MOON, and the upcoming MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS, Spacey really seems to be hitting his stride again, and hopefully, before long, hell deliver another film comparable to his best work in L.A CONFIDENTIAL, SWIMMING WITH SHARKS, THE USUAL SUSPECTS, & AMERICAN BEAUTY.

As for the rest of the cast, everyone is quite good, with young Keke Palmer really being the standout, as the trouble pro-bono case, who also happens to be obsessed with film, and at one point drags Spacey to a screening of FARGO, rather than continue with a session. Also noteworthy is Dallas Roberts, who despite playing a stereotypical, super-agent asshole, avoids channeling Jeremy Piven/ Ari Gold, although his sudden, emotional transformation towards the end is a little hard to take. As always, it was a treat seeing the delectable Saffron Burrows onscreen- who, as far as Im concerned, gets hotter with age. Veteran character actor Robert Loggia also turns up as Spaceys father, who also happens to be a shrink, but thankfully, is not turned into a clich. Robin Williams also turns up in an uncredited, extended cameo, where he more or less seems to be playing a dark version of himself, and is very memorable despite his limited screen time.

THE EXTRAS
Audio commentary with director Jonas Pate and producer Braxton Pope: Pretty standard commentary, nothing revelatory here. Pate talks about Spacey a lot, who also produced the film through his Trigger Street production company.

On-camera interviews with director Jonas Pate and producer Braxton Pope: These interviews pretty much repeat the info we heard in the commentary, and director Pate talks a bit about casting Keke Palmer, who evidently is a big star on the Disney Channel, and is a favorite of his young son.

Deleted scenes: About seven minutes worth, we get a few interesting cuts, including an appearance by Griffin Dunne as Spaceys smarmy literary agent. Theres also a few scenes revolving around some of the more peripheral characters, suggesting that a more CRASH-like structure might have originally been intended for the film, which as its stands, focuses mostly on Spacey, and his clients.

We also get a music video- "Here" by Jackson Browne ; and the theatrical trailer
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
SHRINK was a very satisfying indie, and one that will hopefully be seen by more people on DVD than it was in theaters this summer. I strongly recommend giving this a rental- especially if youre a Spacey fan.
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