With the names of comedy heavyweights Will Ferrell and Paul Rudd above the title, you’d most likely anticipate Apple TV+’s The Shrink Next Door to be a foolish giggle riot. However truthful warning: It isn’t.
The episode working instances are literally a clue: The premiere is simply 35 minutes, like a comedy, however later episodes stretch out to the 50-minute vary because it ventures additional into dramatic territory. Placing a nasty spin on the ’70s self-help period, The Shrink Subsequent Door — premiering this Friday, Nov. 12; I’ve seen all eight episodes — upends our expectations through the use of Ferrell and Rudd to ship a surprisingly darkish psychological dramedy with significantly creepy undertones.
Primarily based on true occasions that had been become a well-liked podcast, The Shrink Subsequent Door begins again in 1982, the place we meet Marty (Ferrell), a form and delicate however hopelessly naïve schmuck who runs his household’s cloth warehouse. Even a gentle confrontation sends Marty right into a debilitating panic assault, and his sister Phyllis (WandaVision‘s Kathryn Hahn) needs him to see a therapist. She sends him to see the bearded Dr. Ike (Rudd), who makes it his mission to assist Marty discover some confidence: “You let folks reap the benefits of you.”
There are some early purple flags, although: Ike hangs out with Marty exterior the workplace… however then expenses him for that point. He step by step creeps into Marty’s life — and his pockets. (Marty is richer than he seems, with Swiss financial institution accounts and a home within the Hamptons, and you may nearly see the greenback indicators mild up in Ike’s eyes when he learns this.) Ike is a born schmoozer with a style for the finer issues, and he has no downside utilizing Marty’s cash to accumulate these issues. As Ike slowly bleeds Marty dry over a number of a long time, he pummels his affected person’s psyche with a barrage of bullying taunts and shameless guilt journeys. “Why the necessity to declare issues?” he asks when Marty dares to let it slip to a visitor that the Hamptons home is definitely his. “It’s unbecoming.”
There are tiny moments of comedic aptitude right here — Marty gleefully portray his workplace to the Laura Branigan pop hit “Gloria” is a spotlight — however principally, that is an odd story, and a tragic one. (Author Georgia Pritchett hails from Veep and Succession, so she’s well-versed in sharply savage darkish comedy.) It’s nearly like What About Bob? in reverse, with the therapist changing into hooked up to his affected person like a parasite. Phyllis begins to fret about Ike’s affect on Marty, and Ike drives a wedge between the siblings, with a tug of battle that places Marty within the center. It’s a sluggish burn, and never precisely a barrel of snickers alongside the way in which, however it’s unusually partaking all through, getting scammier and extra uncomfortable with every passing episode.
It helps that each one three stars are excellent. Ferrell and Rudd have a powerful rapport honed over years working collectively on comedies like Anchorman, and that carries over right here, with each clad in early ’80s eyeglasses and beards. (If nothing else, this present is a complete survey of dangerous ’80s fashions.) Ferrell is just not as goofy as common, however he does a few of his greatest dramatic work as Marty, together with his type eyes and candy demeanor incomes our sympathy (and pity). Rudd places his pure charms to devious ends as Ike, displaying a shocking menace when his darkish aspect comes out. And as Phyllis, Kathryn Hahn continues her streak of creating each TV present she’s in considerably higher; simply listening to her say “racquetball” in her ’80s Higher West Aspect Jewish accent is a deal with.
Hahn disappears within the center episodes, although, and Casey Wilson is underused as Ike’s spouse as nicely. With simply Ferrell and Rudd left to play off one another, it turns into slightly suffocating. The story will get caught in a holding sample, hitting the identical beats time and again. (This simply may’ve been a two-hour film.) I stored ready for all of this to construct to some type of climactic conclusion, however by the point it does, it’s in the end unsatisfying. As creepy as Ike’s obsession is, it by no means will get creepy sufficient to be really unsettling. All in all, although, it’s worthwhile simply to see Ferrell and Rudd broaden their appearing ranges a bit and delve deep right into a story that’s so unusual, it must be true.
THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE: Will Ferrell and Paul Rudd get surprisingly critical — and it really works — in Apple TV+’s intriguingly creepy The Shrink Subsequent Door.
https://tvline.com/2021/11/09/the-shrink-next-door-review-will-ferrell-paul-rudd-apple-tv-plus/ | ‘The Shrink Subsequent Door’ Assessment: Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, Apple TV Plus