The President's Analyst ★★★

Scavenger Hunt #37: A film featuring a psychologist (or psychiatrist, counselor, analyst, or talk therapist)

James Coburn makes ridiculous faces, and some other things happen.

The President’s Analyst is comedy that is mostly devoid of jokes. For me, that’s a way better deal than a comedy with bad jokes. Nothing grating or stupid. Just lots of light plot unfolding for no real reason. Not the ideal situation, but very easy to watch. The movie starts with Coburn giving therapy to a black client, who discusses a long-repressed memory of discrimination from childhood. Side note, but I was incredibly impressed that Paramount was willing to open their silly comedy with this sort of content. I don’t think you could do that today. Anyway, the client reveals that he’s actually a government agent who’s been profiling Coburn. They needed to make sure he’s qualified for a top-secret assignment: head-shrinking the president. Only they must have done bad research, because Coburn has a nervous breakdown almost immediately. This sets into motion the comparatively funnier second half of the movie, in which secret agents from around the world trip over each other to kidnap Coburn so they can extract the president’s secrets.

This movie looks much better than it has any right to. Lots of crane shots and fluid camera work, with excessive attention given to set-dressing. The exception is one action/chase scene in the middle of the film, which is horrendously shot.

The movie made up fake versions of FBI and CIA, but then seemed to decided that actually showing the president, or even saying his name, would break the verisimilitude of the story. So that was a weird choice.

The President’s Analyst is easy to watch and occasionally funny. If you’re already inclined to, say, spy movies, or James Coburn, or comedies from the 60s, you’ll probably enjoy it.