WELCOME TO ME
(directed by Shira Piven, 2014)
**+ (out of 5)
> Um… okay.
. This must have looked like a viable idea on paper, when producers Will Farrell and his partner Adam MacKay, (THE BIG SHORT), considered the project: Woman with borderline personality disorder wins the lottery and decides to emulate her hero Oprah Winfrey and produce her own “vanity” show about… herself. No interviews, no guests, just 100 two-hour episodes where she exposes her inner monologue to the world. Got my interest! Add SNL funnywoman Kristin Wiig, (for my money, one of the funniest and most compelling comedians to hit the scene in decades), and a side helping of capable stars, (including Tim Robbins, Joan Cusak, James Marsden, and Jennifer Jason Leigh), and it looks like a winning formula for a breezy comedy about our self-obsessed world of instant celebrity. And it starts out well.
. Ms. Wiig is, as always, an absolute delight in another quirky role. Then the character goes off her meds, and suddenly, WELCOME TO ME has a serious problem. There is really nothing “funny” about mental illness. It is simply a subject one does not mine for humor- not in good taste anyway. The film attempts to switch gears, and because she is actually a well-rounded actress, our woman Kristen appears up to the task. But the script is not. It breezes along in light- or rather: dark humor mode, in a way that feels completely flat and embarrassingly inappropriate. The supporting cast of real talents are completely squandered here. They are window dressing, and do little more than show up and collect their paychecks. By the time the lead character has a complete breakdown, wandering nude and vulnerable through a casino, the film is in freefall, and just as naked and broken as our sad heroine.
. The ending is cursory and predictable and despite many fun moments along the way, the journey feels aimless and pointless, without really having anything to say about the human condition. In fact, I’m a little embarrassed to give it two-and-a-half stars, but I had to admit to myself, that even though watching this film unfold was like witnessing a slow-motion train wreck, Kristen Wiig is just a blast to watch in anything. This woman could make brushing her teeth entertaining.
. Please pick better roles Kristen!
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