Have you ever had one of those days where you remember getting in your car and driving home from work but have absolutely no memory of what happened on the drive? You know you’ve obeyed the traffic lights and gone the same route you always do yet you’re so used to going through the motions that it’s impossible to distinguish one trip from the next… that is until something major changes. We take comfort in knowing that our detachment is only temporary but for Hudson (Matthew Perry), living in a “horrific perpetual dreamstate” becomes permanent after the anxiety ridden, high-strung screenwriter triggers his preexisting tendency for disassociation in a bong binge after smoking too much dope too fast while trying to pause his penchant for panic.
Soon diagnosed with “depersonalization” disorder or feeling entirely outside his body as he goes about his day, Hudson fights his condition in the quest for the perfect psychiatrist, experimenting with both talk and drug therapies while attempting his own remedies from an unsuccessful venture to reconnect with reality by visiting his parents to spending far too much time in front of his television zoning out to The Golf Channel. Nearly resigned to a life spent indoors watching the longest films ever made on DVD, Hudson is faced with an optimistic jolt when he becomes attracted to the beguiling, lovely, carefree, and refreshingly weird studio development girl Sara (Lynn Collins) after meeting her in a pitch meeting with his long suffering writing partner Tom (Kevin Pollak).
Surprisingly accepting of his predilection for evenings in front of the television, one night when faced with viewing the entire Star Wars trilogy complete with the filmmaker’s commentary, Sara urges Hudson out of the house and serious sparks begin to fly during some completely unexpected adventures. Now given a true reason to cure his depersonalization due to the fear that revealing his condition will alienate his new love, Hudson fights even harder to try and find the right course of treatment but when playing “musical drugs” begins failing, his tendency towards self-sabotage kicks in as writer/director Harris Goldberg’s impressive, autobiographical, and wholly original romantic comedy continues.
Featuring a pitch perfect performance by Matthew Perry in a role that seems completely tailor-made for the star given his incredible talent for dialogue and self-deprecation, Goldberg admirably fills in the rest of the script with equally involving characters, even when they begin bordering on caricature such as in a fine if slightly artificial subplot featuring Mary Steenburgen as an unstable cognitive behavior specialist who breaks the boundaries of a traditional doctor/patient relationship when she gives into temptation with Hudson.
Far better than one would assume given Goldberg’s other credits as a screenwriter contributing to the awful Dana Carvey vehicle The Master of Disguise and the downright despicable Deuce Bigalow series, we realize that the talented filmmaker has much more to offer than lowbrow credits. Given the maturity and well-earned laughs from this completely human script, it's safe to say that we can look forward to other movies from Goldberg that-- if he manages to stay as close to his heart as he did with this deeply personal tale-- are sure to garner him more fans in the world of independent film. Co-produced by its star Matthew Perry, Numb, which earned the Audience Award from the Gen Art Film Festival, has been recently released on DVD.