A great cast can’t make up for an underdeveloped story in Touchy Feely, which is out on Blu-ray and DVD on December 10.
Rosemarie DeWitt plays Abby, a massage therapist. Her brother Paul (Josh Pais) is an uptight dentist, and his daughter Jenny (Ellen Page) works as his assistant. She encourages her dad to advertise to prevent his practice from failing, but business starts improving instead when Dad develops a sort of healing touch. At the same time, Abby becomes freaked out by the sight of skin and touching anyone, so she has to stop working. Allison Janney provides reiki therapy to both adults.
The film is slow-moving, but thankfully, it’s short, at 88 minutes. It’s written and directed by Lynn Shelton, whose previous movie, Your Sister’s Sister, I haven’t seen but heard good things about. The characters here seem realistic, and the performances are excellent, but there’s not much on-screen but conversation and staring into space. My attention wandered, so I may have missed something, but it doesn’t seem to have much of an ending either, with little resolution. The director calls it a movie about “journeys of self-discovery”, but I prefer film journeys that have more visually interesting incidents and with more realization understandable by the audience.
Shelton, DeWitt, and Pais provide a commentary. There are also four minutes of outtakes; 6 1/2 minutes of deleted scenes; a half-hour of interviews with Alison Janney (more interesting than the film), Scoot McNairy (who plays Abby’s boyfriend), Josh Pais, and Lynn Shelton (who sums up a lot of what we’ve already seen); “A Look at Touchy Feely”, a three-minute summary of the film using some of that interview footage; and the trailer, as shown here. (The studio provided a review copy.)