Wednesday, August 13, 2008

NUMB - crass

Despite starring Matthew Perry of FRIENDS fame, NUMB went straight to DVD in the US and went on extremely limited release in the UK. Potential distributors had correctly surmised that the movie fell uneasily between two stalls: neither a charming romantic comedy nor a serious treatment of depersonalisation disorder.

Perry stars as a Hollywood screen-writer who has a mental disorder wherein he perceives life as at one step removed from himself. This is a genuine mental disorder and has, as yet, no means of treatment. As the movie progresses we see Perry bounce from psychologist to psychologist as different mixes of therapy and pharmaceuticals fail to give him any relief.

This could have been the basis of an insightful and moving drama of a man struggling to function in the face of illness. But instead, in a shamefully crass move, the film-makers decide to make the mental illness a mere conceit upon which to hang a romantic-comedy between Perry's character and Lynn Collins' green-light girl. As romances go, this feels cliched and unreal thanks to one of those typical declarations at an airport and a rather schmaltzy speech in a video store.

NUMB went straight to DVD in the US and was released in a handful of screens in the UK in June 2008. It is available on DVD.

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