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A Rudd awakening as trust is Will-fully abused in 'The Shrink Next Door’

Paul Rudd and Will Ferrell in a scene from ’The Shrink Next Door’. Picture: Supplied

Paul Rudd and Will Ferrell in a scene from ’The Shrink Next Door’. Picture: Supplied

Published Nov 21, 2021


Right now, there’s no ignoring the dark comedy-drama, “The Shrink Next Door”, on Apple TV+.

Aside from all the hype around Paul Rudd being named “Sexiest Man Alive” by People magazine, the recent publicity stunt where Ryan Reynolds, who is in Netflix’s action-thriller feature, ’Red Notice’, switched talk show appearances with Will Ferrell was a riot.

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So Reynolds strolled onto the set of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon“, as the audience clapped for Ferrell to walk through the doors.

And he wa's completely nonchalant about it and said: “So weird, I just put the kids to bed. I was walking the dog around the block. Will called, said he was running a little late, asked me if I would jump in and I said, ‘Anything for you, Will’.”

When Jimmy asked how late Ferrell was going to be, Reynolds said: “He’s gonna be here in about a half past never. Will is not coming at all.”

And then “The Shrink Next Door” star turned up on the set of Jimmy Kimmel Live!

The “surprised” talk show host wanted to know what happened to Reynolds and he said: “Yeah, Ryan couldn’t make it. I got a text from him saying he was running late, which usually means he’s not going to show up. And he asked if I could fill in … ”

Both of them were hilarious as they fumbled their way trying to explain the upcoming project of the other.

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Having watched a few episodes of “The Shrink Next Door”, which is based on a real-life story as documented in a podcast of the same title by Joe Nocera, I can understand the fanfare around the TV series, where Rudd is unrecognisable as Dr Isaac “Ike” Herschkopf.

Fans have grown to expect Ferrell to be a riot in his roles. After all, his forte lies in the improv comedy space, whether satirical, political or straight-up cringy.

In the show, he is cast as Martin “Marty” Markowitz, a business owner of a family textile company grappling with life’s anxieties stemming from difficult clients to an insufferable gold-digging ex.

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Kathryn Hahn and Will Ferrell in a scene from the series. Picture: Supplied

His sister Phyllis Markowitz (Kathryn Hahn) is the polar opposite as she has more of a take-charge attitude.

As a single mother going through an acrimonious divorce, it’s safe to say she has grown a thick skin.

She’s savvy, street-smart and isn’t afraid to call a spade a spade.

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After witnessing the frequency of Marty’s panic attacks, she suggests a visit to the local shrink.

Although he begrudgingly keeps the first appointment, Ike’s unconventional approach to getting him to open up helps Marty in a big way. So much so that he advises him to have a do-over Bar Mitzvah for his upcoming birthday.

And Ike helps facilitate the unconventional celebration, which Phyllis is none too pleased with as it insults the memory of their late parents.

Meanwhile, Marty, feeling reinvigorated by the confidence boost thanks to his sessions with Ike, starts spending more and more time with him.

At face value, Ike seems like a nice enough guy and a great therapist.

But there is more to him. It’s not obvious at first, but a pattern starts developing.

Ike is a clout chaser who dreams of making it big. He is drawn to those in the spotlight, even if it is for a photo opportunity during a brief encounter.

The more Marty unburdens his trouble, the more Ike ingratiates himself into his life, especially after learning of the value of the family fortune, of which Marty is the executor.

Despite Phyllis calling BS on Ike crossing the line with his “friendship” with Marty, he is unrelenting in his exploitation of Marty’s gullible nature.

“The Shrink Next Door” is a disturbing and tragic story of trust being abused. It explores the dark side of greed and manipulation.

It also unpacks the moral bankruptcy of opportunistic people like Ike versus Phyllis, who, while offensive and foul-mouthed due to her financial struggles, has good intentions.

Truth is stranger than fiction and this story is the perfect case in point.

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