The Shrink Next Door (2021) (TV)
Honestly, I'm still not entirely comfortable seeing Paul Rudd and Will Ferrell on screen at the same time and not smiling helplessly. I know, I know, they have both worked on serious/semi-serious subjects before, but in times such as these, I would have had much more fun with this if they had been doing something stupid. Timing probably, that's all.
Well like it or not, this is what we're getting. We can bemoan a lack of real laughs in a time when they may be more appreciated than normal, but meh.
Based on true events from journalist Joe Nocera's podcast of the same name, this follows the relationship between Marty Markowitz (Ferrell) and his therapist, Dr Ike Herschkopf (Rudd). This is a New York Jewish story in every sense of the word, with Marty expressing more neurosis than an eighties Woody Allen on a bad day. This is also set in the eighties, long before you could be castigated for your choice of role or casting thereof and there has been more than a little murmuring about the fact that neither Ferrell nor Kathryn Hahn, who supports here as sister Phyllis, are actually Jewish.
The performances found here are, well, fine, but this doesn't alter the facts that Jewish communities have every right to kick up a fuss if they feel they are not being represented enough and/or fairly. Personally, it makes no difference to me in the least. Are the performances believable and entertaining? I would say so, so I leave the rest of it at the door.
Subdued, Ferrell here is that different kind of animal that I first saw in Stranger Than Fiction in 2006 and he appears to revert to type when confronted with something that doesn't require a laugh to be produced. We were already hugely familiar with him of course at that stage, but the jump to drama from anarchy was jolting, which I am reminded of here.
All in all, this is far from a turkey, but maybe not what you're expecting as a Ferrell/Rudd fan. It's running on Apple TV+ for eight episodes, and we're already six episodes in, so I'm still playing catch up.