Saturday, May 9, 2015

Welcome to Me Review

It's mildly amusing. It's mildly meaningful. It's mildly heartfelt. It's mildly interesting.

It's mostly bullshit.

Welcome to Me is the brand new film from director Shira Piven, wife of hit comedic filmmaker Adam McKay and sister of Jeremy Piven, and it stars former Saturday Night Live star and current pretty darn good actress Kristen Wiig. Wiig showcased her range in last years solid The Skeleton Twins, and she shows a bit of it here too, but not enough. For the most part, her performance here feels like an unsuccessful skit from SNL rather than any actual, real portrayal of mental illness.

She plays Alice Krieg, a woman who does not believe in luck because she has learned from Oprah Winfrey that success is a mindset. If you believe in success, you will find it, plain and simple, and one day her usual lottery ticket matches up number for number. With millions in her account, she quits taking her psychiatric meds and starts living her life the way she wants to, which includes paying for her own two hour television talk show.

Some of the comedic bits do enough to invoke a smile and maybe a slight chuckle, but nothing more. The dramatic sequences try so hard to hit hard but they rarely do. The attempts to have the story resonate emotionally miss the mark because frankly, I never once bought into the entire experience. When a film really works, my brain forgets that I am watching a film at all. I will connect with the characters, I will feel uneasy because of their struggles, I will root for their success and I will shed tears because of their pain. Absolutely none of that happened here. Welcome to Me does just enough to avoid being a total train wreck, because Wiig is pretty decent in parts and as I stated at the start, it does a some things mildly well, but for the most part it feels so damn phony. 

It's a shame because the general concept could have worked if handled better. There is a story here about the misconception that money heals all wounds when in reality there are far more important things than the amount of zeros at the end of your bank balance. Money can't buy real relationships, it can't build self esteem and it can't cure a mental illness. Winning the jackpot doesn't bring Alice the happiness most assume it would and that is an important message to tell, but Welcome to Me isn't a good enough film to take seriously. 


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