Henry Carter has seen better, less foggy days. He passes the time in a marijuana-scented fog, sucking down joints as if he needs them to breathe and barely able to keep his eyes open and his overcooked brain engaged at work. And work, it just so happens, is as a therapist to the Hollywood glitterati. He's made oodles of cash writing the best-selling self-help books "Stop Being Sad" and "Happiness Now," but the gloom-ridden guy just can't seem to follow his own advice.
"I think acting is the most healthy, expressive profession one could go in," he told MTV News in a recent interview. "Doesn't mean there aren't a lot of neurotics in the acting profession, because I'm pretty sure we could count on more than two hands."
The film brings together an ensemble cast of a struggling young high school student named Jemma (Keke Palmer), a struggling screenwriter (Mark Webber), a struggling actress past her prime (Saffron Burrows) and a struggling germophobe talent agent (Dallas Roberts). Come to think of it, most everyone in "Shrink" is struggling in one existential respect or another. Their lives intersect, react and evolve in a film that proves to be part Hollywood satire, part buddy stoner flick and part therapist-vs.-patient tête-à-tête.
The central, contentious face-off eventually pits bleary-eyed Carter against his troubled pro-bono patient Jemma, as they each try to jar the other out of proudly stubborn despair. On set, though, Palmer ("Akeelah and the Bee") said Spacey lightened the mood by joking around between takes.
"He's so fun and so nice," the 15-year-old Nickelodeon star said. "He's totally different from all his characters. We're used to seeing him do all these serious roles, these creepy guys. He's totally not like that."
Spacey has previously taken on roles in Hollywood satires ("Swimming With Sharks") and portrayed dope-smoking depressives ("American Beauty"), but it was the relationship in "Shrink," out Friday (July 24), between the psychiatrist and the high-schooler that convinced the Academy Award winner to sign up.
"The relationship struck me as very genuine; the only person who is able to penetrate into his own psyche is this completely unsuspecting, innocent girl who doesn't even think she wants anything to do with his life and he doesn't want anything to do with her life," he explained. "And they're kind of thrown together and have to deal with their problems."
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