Wilson: EW review
The film has some deliciously awkward laughs thanks to Harrelson’s curmudgeonly, childlike performance, but it zips right along without ever landing any emotionally resonant blows
The panels of Daniel Clowes’ comics, like Ghost World and Eightball, are safe havens for the world’s oddballs, misfits, and misanthropes. In other words, people like Woody Harrelson’s Wilson. Cranky, selfish, and a bit of a jerk, Wilson is a man out of time. With his permanent scowl and big black-framed glasses, he looks down his nose at technology, the city of St. Louis, and his fellow man while constantly invading others’ personal space with nosy questions. He’s a guy who can’t take a hint. When his father passes away, Wilson undergoes an existential crisis that leads him to look up his ex-wife, Pippi (Laura Dern), who informs him that after she pregnantly walked out she gave up their baby for adoption. Wilson tries to woo her back and track down their now-teenage daughter (who’s a picked-on overweight goth) to form a dysfunctional family he can call his own and give his squandered life some late-innings meaning.
Directed by Craig Johnson, who wrote and helmed the far better 2014 Bill Hader/Kristen Wiig comedy The Skeleton Twins, Wilson has some deliciously awkward laughs thanks to Harrelson’s curmudgeonly, childlike performance, but it zips right along without ever landing any emotionally resonant blows. In fact, the final third of the film is in such a rush to get to its unearned hopeful ending that you get the feeling there must be a far better version of it on the floor of some editing room in L.A. C+