Kristin Wiig star vehicle disappoints
2 out of 5 stars
Kristen Wiig’s colossal comedic break, Welcome to Me
, is her chance to show whether she can carry a star-studded film virtually by herself and whether her nice turn in The Skeleton Twins
was a fluke or a sign of better things to come. Regrettably, she disappoints on both counts. But, in a departure from the film’s title, the failure is not all about her, as she has considerable help from the writer and director and her fellow cast members.
Wiig plays Alice Klieg, a bi-polar lottery winner who decides to eschew charity or any practical uses of her $86 million winnings and instead embrace fame full-force by launching a talk show hosted by and about only herself. Even Donald Trump must be offended by the immodesty.
Accompanying Alice on her misadventure is the show’s director (Joan Cusack), producer (James Marsden) and production assistant (Jennifer Jason Leigh). The only ones who seem concerned for her well-being are her love interest (Wes Bentley), best friend (Linda Cardellini) and therapist (an underused Tim Robbins).
But it’s not genuine concern, as little in this films rings true. (Since when do “narrative infomercials” air live and unrehearsed, with virtually no one in the studio audience?) But plot foibles might have been forgiven if humanity managed to shine through this rather joyless meditation on mental illness, or if it had anything useful to say to the mentally ill, other than to never go off your meds.
Thanks to underwhelming writing by Eliot Laurence, limp directing by Shira Piven and a mediocre performance by Wiig – who settles too comfortably into her low-key, deadpan, SNL
delivery – nothing crackles the way it should in this inelegant, inarticulate and often unfunny take on our media-obsessed, selfish society. (Network this is not.) And just when you think the movie is about to make a larger, darker statement about redemption and the moral bankruptcy of fame, it pulls its punches, unable to rise above its implausibilities and contrivances.