Matthew Perry burst onto the scene as one of the best line-deliverers and performers of physical comedy in the business as the "Friends" series established itself as one of the most successful sitcoms in the history of American television. In the early seasons of "Friends", Perry gave top-notch performances on a weekly basis, before getting the idea of changing his persona into a more sensitive type which he couldn't quite pull off. Subsequent work in The Whole Nine/Ten Yards franchise did little to suggest that Perry's career would be of much interest post-Friends.
The Canadian comedian has since then battled substance abuse and mental illness, both of which undoubtedly has given him a ballast which gives his performance in the quirky little film Numb a solid and authentic resonance. The film, which is written and directed by Canadian filmmaker Harris Goldberg, may seem like a somewhat shallow goofball-comedy at first, but once it reveals its desperate, anything-but-upbeat nature, we realize that Numb is not a piece of entertainment centered around mental illness; it is a deeply heartfelt psychological study which aims to give the viewer some insight, with the prospect of entertaining as a possible bonus - a basis which naturally leaves Numb destined for limited release and marketing, but which doesn't remove any of its quality.
Perry's performance here is complete. He understands the character beyond what can be reasonably expected. He lives Hudson's life with the same amount of ache and frustration while Goldberg delivers small kicks at most every health institution imaginable. The film is neither reformative nor didactic - in fact, Goldberg doesn't seem to have any answers at all. His mission is to convey an existence; a mode, if you like. And if possible, turn some of the overwhelming negativity in Hudson's life into a glimpse of hope. With Perry's dedicated help, he does just that.