Psychotherapy was almost an anomaly in the late 60’s when holistic healing and astrology were paramount. Now, the profession of introspection is more pertinent. The fly-on-the-wall sessions between Sidney (James Coburn) and his patients are quite tantalizing and often feel like a breach of the confidentiality clause. In order to obviate litigation from the government, covert organizations are camouflaged as the Federal Bureau of Regulation (FBR) and the Central Enquiries Agency (CEA).
A gloriously addlepated premise is drizzled with plausibility. Personally, I could’ve extirpated the Monkees-style, surrealistic montages when Sidney is practically levitating around New York landmarks in ecstasy over his newfangled position. They are hopelessly dated. The funniest facet is the faceless U.S. president is just as neurotic and smothering as Sidney’s other clients with constant red-alarm appointments.
Brilliantly, Theodore J. Flicker insinuates that the president might be a left-wing partisan but his name is never spoken and is only off-screen. The paranoia within Sidney is so trenchant that he is increasingly Pyrrhonian of black suits and a multinational trio on the lawn. At night, he rhapsodizes about feigning injuries in a restaurant that could be billowing with spies.
Coburn was usually the nattering, capped-tooth heavy in westerns and war pictures but, in The President’s Analyst, he gets to flaunt a side of madcap, motormouth levity. This isn’t more evident that a side-splitting scene with the Quantrill family who are so permissive in their politics that, atop of the altruistic act of endorsing a black family in the neighborhood, they possess an “inside gun” and a “car gun”.
Just when you think you’ve stigmatized Flicker’s ethos, he shrewdly toggles the aim towards another demographic as when Sidney gains refuge with hippies. A field of assassins are comprehensively murdered while Sidney is frolicking with his Flower-Power Era cohorts. It’s prime silliness that recalls The Pink Panther films. Flicker is an equal-opportunity satirist. The best potshot is how the Canadians don’t stand a chance during the carnage.
Follow me @ https://letterboxd.com/heatherdurden85/