An unfortunate collision of pathos, pretense and unintentional humor, “Outpatient” won’t be checking into multiplexes any time soon. Despite some talent visible onscreen, pic won’t be driving fest programmers wild, either.
Topper Justin Kirk has just about enough quirky charisma to hold the center of this needlessly baroque tale of madness and (what else?) child abuse. He plays the absurdly named Morris Monk, stuck in a mental institution after his latest suicide attempt. A junior doctor (Catherine Kellner, who doesn’t have a single authentic moment onscreen) and a publisher take an interest in his short stories, which inspire long scenes of blue-filtered tango dancing — although these are so thin on plot and conversation, it’s hard to imagine them filling up more than a few pages of a madman’s notebook. In fact, between the flashbacks, fantasies, literary imaginings and paranoid delusions, pic’s time is pretty much shot before the audience can have much if any idea why Monk is worth caring about. That’s too bad, because helmer-scripter has good visual skills, and color-saturated video lensing is quite striking. Curt Becker stands out among the largely inadequate cast.