May 16, 2013

Everyone has problems. Coping is a symptom of the human condition then. And how one copes is as unique as the individual.


In the case of the Shrink that occupies the title of the film, that coping is copious amounts of marijuana. It is a near constant stream of inhaling marijuana cigarettes, in between therapy sessions, talk show sessions, and marijuana purchasing sessions. Early on we learn the reason for his need to self-medicate.


Also early on we are introduced to five to six other characters, all with the exception of one involved in his counseling. As indicated, they all approach him for different reasons. Yet the film-viewer is never allowed into the minds or the characters that accompany their problems. Indeed, the characters are scattered and inchoate in the film, despite the attempt to create a unifying theme that is centered around their Shrink.


Inexplicably their problems are overcome, all simultaneously, toward the end of the film. There are notes of profoundness which creates such abrupt changes, but the profoundness introduced into the film is not convincing. It is too abrupt, akin to an undercooked roast taken out of the oven and served.


This is the difficulty with creating an ensemble of characters, all with their unique stories, with a very fixed space with which to work in. There necessarily is the convergence point, but skill is required in ensuring the convergence is done elegantly and functionally, versus out of logic. This film may have been better with an additional 45 minutes of screen-time. On the other hand, an additional 45 minutes may have made it unwatchable.


To be fair, the finale is what makes the film fall short. The film is entertaining in itself, only that its major flaw – the climax – is also the most vital aspect of any dramatic piece.


Grade: C+



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