Psych The Movie 2: Lassie Come Home (2020)
Directed by: Steve Franks
Written by: Andy Berman, Steve Franks
Starring: Joel McHale, Sarah Chalke, Jimmi Simpson, Timothy Omundson, Maggie Lawson, James Roday
During Psych‘s initial run on USA Network, it gained a massive cult following, developed its own slang and catchphrases, and became one of the network’s biggest show’s ever. With the show’s finale in 2014, the show did right by its fans, giving everyone a satisfying conclusion. But showrunner Steve Franks, and franchise star James Roday still had more to say, and in 2017, gives us Psych The Movie. It was a fun follow up, and even tied up a few loose ends teased in the finale 3 years prior. With the launch of NBC Universal’s new streaming service Peacock, comes another chapter in the Psych universe with Psych The Movie 2: Lassie Come Home.
Franks and Roday rarely disappoint, and this is no exception. The movie is a strong entry into the franchise that deals with fatherhood, maturity, and living up to expectations. But it is also a big, heartfelt tribute to Timothy Omundson. Omundson played Carlton Lassiter in the series, and days before the first movie was set to film, the actor suffered a massive stroke. They abandoned their plans, and did an 11th hour rewrite, essentially reducing Omundson’s role to a brief cameo as Lassiter. While he is still recovering even now, he was well enough to film the sequel, and so the entire plot revolves around him.
You still get a good old-fashioned Psych style mystery, but there is more heart and depth behind it, as it also has personal stakes. Lassiter was bedridden most of the episode, but the story calls for it. Omundson has not lost any of his timber, so to hear the booming voice of Carlton Lassiter once again is a gift for Psych fans. That is one of many gifts contained in this film.
The jokes and callbacks are hilarious, and is exactly what you come to expect from this franchise. They are strong, but do not take away from the emotion and depth presented either. All of the main characters go on a journey, and are able to put them all in a nice place if this is the last Psych thing we will ever get (though I don’t think it will be. Franks had initial plans for 5 movies).
The guest cast and the surprise cameos were as fun as they always are with Psych. They shine on their own but also elevate Roday and his costar Dule Hill to let them do what they do best. The duo are growing as men, and as partners, but are still childish and immature in other ways. It is what makes them so entertaining. Maggie Lawson always delivers as Juliet, and Kirsten Nelson plays one of the only Karens you will want to root for, though Karen Vick doesn’t have as much screen time as the last film. Corbin Bernsen delivers a solid performance too, but he doesn’t have much to do either. Kurt Fuller’s Woody is his usual crazy and stupid self, while Sage Brockelbank’s McNab gets reduced to just one scene, albeit an entertaining one. It is nice that the entire core cast is still able to come together to make magic again though.
The surprising emotional core of the movie comes from the notion of fatherhood. It comes at you from all angles - there are fathers who are still trying to figure their kids out, and then non-fathers who wonder how they would be as fathers. The notion runs throughout the entire film. Some of it is subtle, some of it is right in your face, but it all works.
At a brisk 88 minute runtime, the pacing is lightning quick. The set up happens in the first few minutes, and the climax ends abruptly. Sometimes it left something to be desired as it looked like things were edited to keep things short. As a huge Psych fan who has listened to all of the audio commentaries of the episodes, it has happened before. There were countless times where Franks would mention a longer version of a particular scene, or a scene they just couldn’t keep due to time restraints. A TV movie doesn’t have quite the same time restraints as a procedural TV episode, but some of the “cut to the chase” moments makes it feel as if they only had a 90 minute window to work with. Perhaps if the third movie is made exclusively for Peacock (this one was originally made for USA Network, and then moved to Peacock), they can have a little more breathing room.
Overall, Psych The Movie 2 serves as a wonderful follow-up to Psych The Movie, a wonderful “welcome back” to Timothy Omundson, and a wonderful entry to the new streaming service Peacock. The movie will make you laugh, make you think (trying to figure out the mystery) and it might even make you shed a tear. It stays true to its roots, while expanding the journeys of the characters we love, and you can’t ask for much more than that.
Psych The Movie 2 will stream exclusively on Peacock on July 14th 2020