I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction (FreshFiction.tv) as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.
Preston Barta // Features Editor
WELCOME TO ME | 105 min | Rated PG-13
Director: Shira Piven
Stars: Kristen Wiig, James Marsden, Linda Cardellini, Wes Bentley, Joan Cusack, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Thomas Mann, Alan Tudyk and Tim Robbins
WELCOME TO ME is a dark toned comedy where Kristen Wiig plays Alice Klieg, a woman with Borderline Personality Disorder who goes off her psychiatric meds, wins the lottery and buys her own talk show.
This is a neat enough premise to warrant your attention, and the cast is strong enough to pull you in; however, it’s a film that ultimately leaves you on the fence. You feel unsure because it so often makes you feel dirty, uncomfortable and annoyed. Sure, there have been great movies that have left you feeling a little strange and weird, such as last year’s FRANK, but there are no rewards here.
Tonally, this film is all over the place. There will be these great, grounded moments that work within the world of the film, such as Klieg exorcising her personal demons and re-enacting moments from her past. It’s really quite a fascinating exploration. But then, those moments will be shoveled aside by these rather absurd and ridiculous moments that throw this story in a tail-spin, including how quickly she spends her money (making it seem more like a scene out of BRIDESMAIDS) and how she ditches her clothes to walk completely naked through a casino (a scene that comes from out of nowhere and functions like a shortcut to “serious acting”).
Despite how uneven this film is, I have to commend Wiig for taking on such a challenging role that is both emotionally and physically daring. After exiting SNL and taking on big projects such as BRIDESMAIDS, she could have made an easy cash-grab by making other movies just like it, but she didn’t do that. She chased different and complex roles, with films like THE SKELETON TWINS, A GIRL MOST LIKELY and HATESHIP LOVESHIP. Yeah, sometimes the movies around her performance don’t always stick (much like this one), but you can’t help but admire how bold she is, especially here.
WELCOME TO ME showcases strong performances in a narrative that needs more tightening and understanding of what kind of film it is. It will often offer riveting insight into the idea that “television makes us all narcissists,” but it loses grip on its ideas and doesn’t really say much in the end.
WELCOME TO ME is playing in select theaters today.