Wednesday, April 5, 2017

[Review] Wilson

Woody Harrelson stars in Wilson, an offbeat comedy that--just like it's titular main character--grows on you as it goes.

Wilson (Harrelson) is an out-of-touch, slightly cynical, and TMI-divulging loner. He's literally the guy who picks the urinal directly next to you in an empty bathroom. Not the most likable fellow, but he kind of feels like someone you might know in real life. Anyway, after he tracks down his ex-wife Pippi (played greatly by Laura Dern), the two attempt to connect with their estranged daughter (Isabella Amara), who was given up for adoption 17 years ago.

Director Craig Johnson (The Skeleton Twins) and writer Daniel Clowes (Ghost World) serve up a hotdish of painfully awkward humor. Wilson's interactions provoke that sink-down-in-your seat brand of secondhand embarrassment. Early on, the film seems like it might be a difficult one to put up with. But once the humor settles, the characters develop, and the story opens its heart, this thing begins to charm in its own unique way, especially as Woody gracefully falls into this eccentric role. Wilson is a quintessentially Midwestern odd-com through and through. A feature of habit. A passive-aggressive rollick. In fact, a lot of the movie was filmed just a few minutes away from my home in St. Paul, Minnesota--the settings capturing a familiar blend of old-fashion quirk and understated beauty.

So as much as Wilson gets on our nerves, beneath it all is a sympathetic character. A guy just searching for the life he always wanted but may never have--at least not in the traditional way.

( 8/10 )

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