Take Me
(Pat Healy)

Pat Healy in a scene from Take Me {Photo: NETFLIX / THE ORCHARD}

Pat Healy in a scene from Take Me {Photo: NETFLIX / THE ORCHARD}

I last saw Pat Healy in Stephen Cone’s remarkable Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party, where he gave a performance of such restrained compassion and warm humanism that you could not believe it was the same guy who also starred in Cheap Thrills. Healy has amassed approximately 20 acting credits since working with Cone and whatever semblance of tenderness he expressed before has been effectively replaced by, at best, human-like behavior. Take Me, his second directorial effort, sees Healy struggle as both a filmmaker and actor, attempting to uncover pathos in an inconceivably awful screenplay. Here, he’s an entrepreneur offering clients the opportunity to simulate a kidnapping. An early sequence sees his business model in action, where an obese man (Jim O'Heir) utilizes the program as a grotesque form of crash-dieting, where he’s tied to a chair and force fed fast-food when straying from his prescribed diet. A wealthy consultant (Taylor Schilling) requests services though demands a particular scenario to be fulfilled that encourages physical threats within an extended 48-hour period. And so it goes. It’s not that the idea is necessarily uncomfortable, it’s that Healy’s too inept to say anything especially useful or illuminating about how men and women behave. Instead he opts for vapid characterizations that say nothing beyond what’s already plainly stated. Which, being a Netflix release, just about says it all.