Yes, these all sound like cliched types, because they are. Still, the characters in Thomas Moffett’s script are intriguing enough, and director Jonas Pate gets sufficiently lively work from his eclectic cast, that you end up caring about them anyway. Los Angeles locations, including hiking trails in the Hollywood Hills and the actual Creative Artists Agency building in Century City, help lend an air of authenticity.
Spacey plays their wayward anchor, waking up each morning in a wine-and-pot-induced stupor, self-medicating all day, then going home, passing out and doing it all over again. (When we first see him, he’s recording the book-on-tape version of his best-seller, “Happiness Now,” having showered and shaved beforehand with a joint in his mouth.)
He strikes a believable balance between bemusement at his situation and the troubles of the people around him, as well as genuine and justifiable misery, and his therapy sessions provoke a healthy amount of humor and poignancy.
By the end, Carter may not have found true happiness yet — at least “Shrink” isn’t that painfully obvious — but he’s on his way to achieving some vague sense of peace.
“Shrink,” a Roadside Attractions release, is rated R for drug content throughout and pervasive language including some sexual references. Running time: 104 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four.
Motion Picture Association of America rating definitions:
G — General audiences. All ages admitted.
PG — Parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.
PG-13 — Special parental guidance strongly suggested for children under 13. Some material may be inappropriate for young children.
R — Restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
NC-17 — No one under 17 admitted.