The Master Cleanse
“A hard-to-pigeonhole supernatural fable”- John DeFore, HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
“An odd and unexpected satire on dieting fads and self-help culture” – Louis Peitzman, BUZZFEED
People do ridiculous things in moments of heartbreak. Paul (Johnny Galecki) joins a spiritual retreat. Worse decisions could have been made. Or, perhaps not. The retreat that poor Paul has signed up for is a rather unusual and secretive one, run by a certain Ken Roberts (Oliver Platt), whose approach to inner growth is perhaps a touch too literal. The regimen that he will put Paul and his fellow maladjusted retreat-mates is a tough one. The results it brings are… well, they’re certainly difficult to deny. Or ignore. Or live with.
An intimately whimsical black comedy about personal baggage and the monsters it can become, THE MASTER CLEANSE is the long-awaited feature debut from writer/director Bobby Miller, whose extraordinary short TUB (2010) left many gobsmacked when shown at Fantasia back in the day. Miller’s choices as a filmmaker are as idiosyncratic as the subjects he likes to tackle. Central here is the choice to feature an assortment of practical puppeteered and animatronic creatures whom, it must be said, are some of the cutest creations the screen has seen since GREMLINS, even if they come from a much darker and more Cronenbergian place. Galecki is a perfect lead here, virtually unrecognizable from the performer we know from THE BIG BANG THEORY, and Platt is just amazing. Joining them are Anna Friel (LIMITLESS), Kyle Gallner (RED STATE) and, most spectacularly, Anjelica Huston (PRIZZI’S HONOR) and Kevin J. O’Connor (LORD OF ILLUSIONS). A strange, sweet-hearted and occasionally skin-crawling odyssey of broken people and their demons amidst shared quests for happiness, THE MASTER CLEANSE is the perfect cinematic detox for a world in desperate need of help.
— Mitch Davis