No less than Spider-Man 3, Oren Rudavsky's The Treatment is an urban fairy tale. It's an Upper West Side story, adapted from publishing powerhouse Daniel Menaker's well-reviewed 1998 novel, in which a smart-mouthed, if diffident, hero (Chris Eigeman) wins a wise, beautiful princess (the versatile, sometime X-Woman Famke Janssen) with a foundling child, no thanks to an irascible wizard—namely the hero Jake's shrink, Dr. Morales (Ian Holm, upgraded from hobbit). No less than Rudavsky's 1997 documentary, A Life Apart: Hasidism in America, The Treatment affectionately portrays the customs of a circumscribed community with its own particular laws and geography. Other than a trip to Connecticut to consult another crusty old doctor, Jake's father (Harris Yulin), the action barely strays further than a few blocks from Central Park, where, in the opening scene, Jake meets his ex-girlfriend, getting the news of her engagement just in time for the first of many sessions on Morales' procrustean couch. Short, sweet, and hardly ever cloying, The Treatment is largely dependent for its success on the quality of its performances—most surprisingly, Eigeman's. An axiom of Whit Stillman's class-conscious indies, the actor has grown less smug and more sympathetic with age.
Eigeman gets off the couch with Janssen.
Runs at Varsity, Fri., Aug. 24–Thurs., Aug. 30. Not rated. 86 minutes.