A thick slice of self-help propaganda, "The Process" plays less like a real documentary than a pompous recruitment video for some cure-all, EST-esque cult. It's akin to those books and books-on-tape that promise an overnight conquering of long-troubling personal demons.

A thick slice of self-help propaganda, “The Process” plays less like a real documentary than a pompous recruitment video for some cure-all, EST-esque cult. It’s akin to those books and books-on-tape that promise an overnight conquering of long-troubling personal demons. Watching it, you have to pinch yourself to remember it’s not all one big “Saturday Night Live” send-up. Opening for a one-week engagement on a single L.A. screen, pic may attract curiosity seekers, but will soon realize its ultimate destiny as a catalog mail-order item.

Though directed by longtime title designer Richard Greenberg, pic’s real orchestrator is the self-proclaimed “psychodramatist” Dr. Tian Dayton, whose nine-day self-improvement workshop, in which a collection of neuroses-consumed thirtysomethings (all professional actors by trade) enact allegedly therapeutic role-playing scenarios, was videotaped for the film. There’s lots of new-agey talk about “doubling,” “inner lives,” and “auxiliary egos.” But shot as it is, on a stylized studio set, with lots of dramatic lighting and the constant swirl of cameramen running in and out of frame, pic suggests nothing so much as a dubious reality TV pilot: “Who Wants to Marry My Inner Child?”

The Process

Docu

Production

A Greenberg/Seidler production. Produced by Richard Greenberg, Dudley Saunders, Dennis Sugasawara. Executive producer, Gary Seidler. Directed by Richard Greenberg.

Crew

Camera (color, digital video), Michael K. Maley; editors, Joseph Conarkov, Neeley Lawson; music, Billy White Acre. Reviewed on videocassette, L.A., March 25, 2003. Running time: 70 MIN.
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