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When hard boiled private eye Donald Strachey (Chad Allen) finds his latest client dead, an apparent suicide, Albany's favorite gay detective smells a rat and decides to take matters into his own hands. With the help of his straight-laced but adoring husband and his occasionally too-eager assistant, Strachey's investigation leads him on a dark and dangerous trail into the world of gay conversion therapy - a twisted mix of psychology and religion designed by a doctor to turn homosexuals straight. Morgan Fairchild costars in this story based on author Richard Stevenson's much-loved book series.
"Shock to the System" is a perfectly respectable second entry in the saga of gay private eye Donald Strachey (based on author Richard Stevenson's books), which began with 2005's "Third Man Out." Made with television in mind but receiving a modest August theatrical run, Canuck helmer Ron Oliver's film noir-lite casts the founder of a center designed to turn gays and lesbians straight as the gumshoe's nemesis...All of the genre's required ingredients are here -- from the slight comic relief with the new secretary in Strachey's office to multiple suspects and Macguffins -- to suggest that Oliver and screenwriter Ron McGee have affection for the tradition of Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler and "The Thin Man." The twist of casting all of this within a gay prism seems clever enough, yet the pic can't help appearing like a dress-up version of noir.
Maitland McDonagh, TV Guide
...delivers enough twists and turns to be engaging...the overall vibe is dangerous and flirty...
Nathan Lee, The New York Times
A sly, refreshingly grown-up gay entertainment...
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