Parents' Guide to

The Shrink Next Door

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Language, drinking in terrific true-crime podcast tale.

TV Apple TV+ Drama 2021
The Shrink Next Door Poster Image

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Will Ferrell and Paul Rudd have terrific chemistry in performances that could have skewed grim, lightening up a chilling premise: Evil sometimes come disguised as the exact kind of help you need. In the beginning of The Shrink Next Door, Ferrell's Marty is obviously a guy who needs a hand. Flummoxed by the big and small problems in his life, easily pushed around by others, prone to panic attacks, he's a great big mess in every way. Urged by his loved ones to seek change with therapy from Rudd's Dr. Ike, Marty's first electrified by Dr. Ike's cheerful pushiness, then, as his boundaries are violated in increasingly shocking ways, he slowly realizes that he's a patsy, not a patient. The story would be hard to buy if it weren't all too real.

The problem, as The Shrink Next Door soon makes clear, is that trouble sometimes masquerades as a friend. From their very first session together, it's clear that Ike is hungering for both power and acclaim, and he shrewdly realizes that Marty is so hard up for support that he's happy to pay for both. Elaborate parties, pricey artworks, access to the rich and famous; Marty foots the bill for everything as Ike worms his way into his consciousness, convincing Marty that everything he does for Ike is really something he's doing for himself. And as Marty is slowly, painfully ensnared in Ike's schemes, it's made clear how vulnerable we are when we go looking for help, and how the wrong person can show up at the right time. With terrific sympathetic actors like Rudd, Ferrell, and Kathryn Hahn as Marty's long-suffering sister, we feel the pain Dr. Ike left behind.

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