Movie Review: Welcome to Me

If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you have probably gleaned from my lack of a post yesterday that nothing came out to review. I only say that because something indeed came out, but was rendered so irrelevant even before its release, I believe no one even knows it exists. The film in question is Hot Pursuit, a buddy cop/criminal movie staring Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara. It is difficult to blame the film with Age of Ultron making money on second and third viewings, but the moment I saw the trailer, I planned ahead a schedule to avoid seeing it. Thankfully, Welcome to Me (WtM) was playing at my local indie venue to save me the trouble of losing my mind.

Like Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter, WtM borrows the same story of an odd female character living out her delusions in a manner those around her perceive as abnormal, supplemented by a theme of isolation. Unlike Treasure Hunter, WtM has a more focused tone and consistency to how events proceed.

Kristen Wiig plays Alice, a lonely shut-in with borderline personality disorder, who wins $86 million dollars in the local lottery. Wanting to live out her dream of becoming the next Oprah, Alice uses her newfound wealth to start her own talk show on public access solely about herself. With each episode her fame and ego grow en mass, affecting those around her.

Unlike my more recent foray into comedy with Get Hard, WtM is actually funny; so funny, it has renewed my faith in the ability of movies to make me laugh. Utilizing elements of shock and fish-out-of-water humor, Wiig takes the film by the balls and carries it with an ease that makes Atlas looks like wimp. Her ability is on full display, tailoring every aspect of the character to make Alice not only a fleshed out and clearly defined mentally deficient character, but funny in the most minute of details. Wiig is to WtM what De Niro was to Taxi Driver. With lesser talent in the role, the film would have been nothing more than a footnote in my weekend.

The rest of the cast does more than an admirable job keeping up with Wiig. Wes Bentley played the modest producer Gabe, whose growing concern over Alice’s mental state makes him more sympathetic than his brother, Rich, played by James Marsden, in probably the best role I have ever seen him in. Joan Cusack as the show director Dawn takes a reactionary role as the witness to the utter lunacy of Alice’s show as it falls apart before her eyes. The most human of the characters is Gina, played by Linda Cardellini, Alice’s closest friend and the audience’s conduit as she endures Alice’s deteriorating mental state.

Welcome to Me is a fun movie with a familiar message anyone can get behind. In a way, it says a lot about comedians and the process of getting their own shows that eventually fail horribly, but saying anymore for a movie this easy and simple to understand would only make this review longer than it should. If it is playing in you area, I highly recommend buying a ticket. If not, Age of Ultron is more than a fine substitute.

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