Welcome to Me movie review

Kristen Wiig stars in Welcome to Me, a movie that can’t quite decide if it’s a comedy, a drama or both.   While I wouldn’t hit this flick with the dramedy tag, I can’t say it’s a bad movie, either, despite the discrepancy.  It’s not great – but it probably should have been.

This flick has everything you could want if you’re making a movie:  a solid premise, a great lead actress (Wiig) who will do anything to get the job done, an amazing supporting cast who’s up to the challenge (James Marsden, Linda Cardellini, Wes Bentley, Tim Robbins, Joan Cusack), but maybe the meager $522k budget held them back in terms of time and resources.  With a bit more development, I think this movie could have been great, but…

I can’t identify with any of the characters
Alice probably shouldn’t be the protagonist – there’s just no identifying with her.  It’s fair to say that getting the audience to relate to someone who’s gone off their meds is a tall order, but that’s the road they chose and they sorta hydroplaned into a tree.  A far simpler approach would have been to use Cardellini’s Gina as the lead – an everyday person who’s lost her job in the midst of her friend’s off medication/lottery winning/hosting own talk show bender.  But that might not have worked either, because…

All of the characters are unreasonable, not just Alice
Sure, Alice is unreasonable, but then, she thinks she can moderate her mood based on her protein intake.  Gina, on the other hand, tells Alice that she lost her job while Alice is in the hospital recovering from burns sustained on the set of her new talk show.  Gina knows Alice’s mental stability isn’t great, yet she’s surprised when Alice is too self involved to notice her plight.  Second degree burns, while painful and unfortunate, are a major catastrophe for someone like Alice, and Gina knows that, yet this, somehow, is the straw that broke Gina’s patience-back when she should know this is par for the course.
That’s just one specific example; if you need a more general idea, take a look at pretty much everyone who works at the TV studio – they’d all be unemployed without Alice, yet they constantly complain and even quit rather than deal with Alice another day even though just a few days before, they were shooting infomercials.  At least Alice’s show is interesting; everything they did beforehand was literally selling useless crap that didn’t even sell well enough to pay their overhead.
Hence, I don’t care when Alice annoys these people because these people deserve to be annoyed and this renders many scenes ineffective.  On the other hand, it’s hard to celebrate Alice’s successes because they’re unearned and by the same token, I can’t sympathize with her failures because she deserves them.

The tone flies all over the place
When I say ‘tone,’ I mean how the movie feels.  Understanding tone is kinda like pornography in the sense that “you know it when you see it.”  There are several scenes that send the football from the 10 yard line to home plate (if you will):  the initial meeting where Alice pitches the show (light and funny), the scene where they bang at the roller rink (gritty, realistic), Alice walks nude through the casino for some reason (surreal and dreamlike) are just a few examples of scenes that probably shouldn’t be in the same movie, or at least not portrayed in such radically different ways.  If director Shira Piven or writer Eliot Laurence could have made this all work together (or made changes), I think the end result could have been a lot more powerful.

And yet, I couldn’t stop watching this movie.  It’s engaging in a way that few movies are, which is almost entirely due to Wiig’s performance (with some help from her costars).  I appreciate that this movie didn’t write itself, direct itself. light itself, etc, but for the most part, this flick is a vehicle for the cast to show off their talents, but there’s not much more to write home about.  I can’t help but think that better writing and directing could have turned a mediocre movie into one of the best films of the year, but C’est la vie.

Welcome to Me has a lot of promise that it can’t quite deliver.  It’s not a bad flick, but adjust your expectations accordingly.

About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of CreativeJamie.com, BomberBanter.com and editor in chief of ComicBookClog.com

Posted on July 7, 2015, in movie review and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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