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Review: 'Psych: The Movie' was written for its fans

POSTED: December 6, 2017 7:39 a.m.
Liesl Nielsen/

Dulé Hill and James Roday in Psych: The Movie (2017)

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A palpable excitement flooded select corners of the interwebs when USA Network announced that the popular fake psychic detective Shawn Spencer and his partner in solving crime, Gus, would return to the screen in "Psych: The Movie."

Spencer, a hyper-observant man who has convinced the police he solves crimes because he’s psychic, saw a successful eight-season run with "Psych" (the TV series), and garnered an impressive fan base of “Psych-Os.”

As a longtime fan myself, I was crossing my fingers that the movie would not disappoint and admittedly went in with an incredibly biased support for the whole thing.

But don’t worry Psych-Os, this movie was made for the fans.

If you’re a fan of "Psych," you will love being back in Shawn and Gus’ world. If you’re not, then you’ll likely be confused by the rapid-fire, madcap humor. I suggest finding some kind soul with the DVD box set (since Psych is no longer on Netflix) and start watching from the beginning. Statistically speaking, you’ll become a fan too.

The movie begins a few years after the TV series left off. Fans may remember that Shawn (James Roday), Gus (Dule Hill) and Shawn’s new fiancee Juliet (Maggie Lawson) decided to all move up to San Francisco from Santa Barbara to follow their chief of police to her new job.

I don’t want to spoil too much, but fans can get excited to see the Psych office in a new location (a sketchy alleyway in Chinatown) and a new villain (a bottle-blonde Zachary Levi).

And though I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience, every reunion has to have a few flaws. Here are some pros and cons, void of spoilers:

Pros

  • The movie was packed full of Easter eggs from the series for fans to find and enjoy, and the writers did an exceptional job bringing in everyone’s favorite taglines (Have you heard about Pluto? That’s messed up.) The writers know their fans and wrote this for them. Per usual, there were plenty of references to ‘80s pop culture that went straight over my head, but older fans found them hilarious.

  • Shawn and Gus have the same amazing chemistry they did in the series. You’ll feel right back at home in their world and love them just as much as you did before. The cast has said multiple times in interviews that they all love working together, and that’s apparent on-screen. This movie brings all the original characters back, along with several guest stars from past seasons, and the audience cheered each time a familiar face showed back up on-screen.

  • This movie is just straight-up hilarious. One of the biggest laughs of the night came during a scene where Shawn and Gus try to drive away in a driver’s ed car with two steering wheels. I’m pretty sure it took up a full two minutes of screen time. The laughs were nonstop and the audience couldn’t get enough.

  • Zachary Levi was amazing and nailed the role of the hilariously over-dramatic villain. The writers revealed that they had named his character after the man who bought the Psych series script at USA Network in a Q&A following the movie.

  • There were a couple twists throughout the story which kept the plot fresh, interesting and unexpected, though a bit chaotic. I absolutely loved the ending, which, at least to me, was uproariously funny and anarchically serendipitous.

Cons

  • Det. Carlton Lassiter (Tim Omundson) is probably my favorite character. He is the strict and organized yin to Shawn’s chaotic and psychotic yang. I love the character dynamic between the two. Unfortunately, Omundson only made a very brief cameo after the actor suffered a recent stroke. His cameo was one of the more contrived parts of the movie and didn’t seem at all in-character. The writers of the show have said multiple times that this movie is just one of six they hope to make and promise Omundson will be in them. I definitely hope so.

  • While the audience loved all the familiar guest cameos, I personally thought there were a few too many. It seemed a bit like the writers were trying to squeeze an inordinate amount of characters in a very short time period. Some would appear, become part of the plot for five minutes, then disappear for the rest of the movie without really making much of an impact on the plot at all.

  • During the Q&A after the movie, Roday mentioned that while helping to write the script, he realized halfway through that maybe the plot needed to make sense. I think the writers may have gotten a bit carried away with including everyone’s favorite moments that they may have forgotten to consolidate the plot. There were several subplots I thought just confused the storyline rather than adding to it.

  • This movie had maybe the most random musical number in all of television history. It had nothing to do with the plot and was most likely added because the cast likes to sing and do ridiculous things together. It was totally unnecessary and made no sense whatsoever. But I laughed.

Froofy critics may say this movie was a hodge-podge of various characters, plotlines and jokes thrown together, and that’s fair. But it wasn’t written for the critics. It was written for the fans.

Fans will absolutely love "Psych: The Movie" and won’t be able to stop laughing. Come on, son.

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