Episode 1 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 8 – | Review Score – 3/5
Like many AppleTV+ projects, The Shrink Next Door is needlessly stretched out over more episodes than it needs. What begins as an interesting enough ride soon turns into the TV equivalent of a thin layer of butter spread over too much toast.
Based on a true story, The Shrink Next Door depicts the life of Marty and his therapist Ike, a man who slowly wraps his poisonous tendrils around Marty’s life and forces him to relinquish control of everything he once loved… and then takes it over himself. It’s a tough watch, and there are some toe-curling, cringe-inducing scenes here that make this a more challenging watch than it should be.
Now, had this series been condensed into a more streamlined 5 episode miniseries, it may have served better. Instead, the opening chapters work to introduce us to both Marty and Ike before sagging in the middle, dragging out this conman’s despicable acts over way too many episodes before Marty’s predictable redemption.
While this sounds like a spoiler, The Shrink Next Door is telegraphed from the opening chapter. You’ll have figured this one out long before the end of the first 45 minutes, even without reading a synopsis or knowing anything about this series (which is exactly how I review, if anyone is interested to know!)
The show feels like way more work than it should be and that’s surprising, given the talents of both Will Ferrel and Paul Rudd are in the driving seat here. They each bring a unique, quirky chemistry to this but in this play-it-straight set-up, the comedy tagline somehow feels like a misdirection.
There is absolutely nothing funny about The Shrink Next Door. This is a slow, methodical slog through the life of two men; one who steals everything to get ahead in life, and one who rolls over and lets it happen. The thing is, a dark comedy has been done with this exact premise before and maintained that comedic edge. The Cable Guy was panned hard when it first released but honestly, it’s a wickedly funny film and strikes the right balance that this show so desperately needed. And, of course, it wasn’t stretched across 8 episodes either.
In the end, The Shrink Next Door is a lavishly produced descent into mediocrity. Despite a promising start, The Shrink Next Door soon outstays its welcome and at its worst, actually becomes quite boring. I appreciate this subject material isn’t exactly comedic gold but a few jokes in here really would have helped bring a bit of levity to an otherwise doom-and-gloom cautionary tale about con artists.
With a more streamlined experience, The Shrink Next Door could have been a hit. Instead, this joins the pile of other mediocre Apple projects that are in desperate need of tighter editing and better scripts.
Verdict - 4/10