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Even the white males in their forties are vague. After pushing an uprooted football coach onto the shrink’s couch in Ted LassoBill Lawrence (helped by Brett Goldstein, himself an actor in Ted Lassoand Jason Segel) sends the Marshall of How I Met Your Mother getting treatment in a comedy that marks the second collaboration between Lawrence and Apple TV+.
Devastated by the accidental death of his wife, Jimmy (Jason Segel) is an adrift therapist. When he’s not exhausting his nights swallowing pills and snorting cocaine in the company of prostitutes, he seeks instructions for his 17-year-old daughter, Alice, who has taken refuge with a neighbor (Christa Miller ) too happy to get a chick back after the departure of her three grown-up sons. At the office, Jimmy is freewheeling and his way of taking his patients out of the office for more or less productive trips worries and increasingly irritates Paul, his boss ( Harrison Ford). His sparkling colleague Gaby (Jessica Williams, amazing) consoles him as best she can, her good humor slung over her shoulder while she herself is in the process of a divorce.
Under the warm Pasadena, California sun, all the characters in Shrinking advance on a crutch, and we recognize the know-how of the scriptwriters in the way the characters also lean on each other to treat small neuroses in which Mr. and Mr.me Everyone will easily recognize each other – grief, therefore, post-traumatic stress, the need for love, loneliness and, of course, the difficulty of communicating. All of this is treated through a vision of post-Covid therapy, de-dramatized but ultimately very sanitized, where Freud left room for simple common sense and benevolence.
Shrinking compensates for this blind spot with a perfect balance between laughter and more delicate emotions. There is indeed a balance close to Ted Lasso, this fluidity with which the comedy suddenly comes crashing down against the drama, thus giving relief to scenes that are sometimes a little too explanatory. But, unlike the series worn by Jason Sudeikis, Shrinking formally allows few steps aside, if not a great freedom left to the actors, who are all particularly well distributed.
There will undoubtedly be sorrowful spirits to regret the use of Harrison Ford as a grumpy psychiatrist to whom we do not do it, but it must be admitted that few stars embrace old age with such relaxation. And his partners seem so happy to play opposite him that we don’t see why we would deprive ourselves of treating the winter blues in their company.
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