Welcome to Me (2014) Directed by Shira Piven. With Kristen Wiig, Wes Bentley, James Marsden and Tim Robbins.
Kristen Wiig deserves credit for making unconventional career choices, especially considering those choices don’t always provide the best platform for her talents. Bridesmaids was Wiig’s graduation from SNL to the multiplexes, but her path since then has led toward more offbeat, challenging films like The Skeleton Twins, and now, Welcome to Me, in which Wiig plays Alice Klieg, a woman with borderline personality disorder who wins $86m on the lottery and chooses to spend her newfound wealth on becoming the new Oprah Winfrey.
On paper, it sounds hilarious, which acts as an elephant in the room from the very beginning. Directed by Shira Piven, the film has a noticeably uneven tone, prompting the audience to wonder if they have the licence to laugh. I found myself pondering if this was an intentional reflection of the central character’s muddled mind. In truth, it isn’t clear.
What is clear, is Wiig’s commitment to a role that asks a lot of her (add one awkward moment of full-frontal nudity to many others) as she’s supported by a fine cast of familiars like Tim Robbins and her psychiatrist, and Wes Bentley and James Marsden as morally dubious TV producers.
While the humour might be too offbeat for many, it’s hard to deny that Welcome to Me isn’t without merit. The central gag is that of surrealism invading the structured world of television broadcasting, a joke that I personally enjoyed. It might aim to tie a neater bow than people drawn to the material would like, but you are allowed to laugh. That said, you might want to choose carefully who you recommend it to. 3.5/5