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Welcome to Me - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
Welcome to Me
Directing: B-
Acting: A-
Writing: B-
Cinematography: B
Editing: B-

Kristen Wiig is one of today's most underrated actors, if not among critics (who tend to like her), then certainly among audiences, and perhaps more significantly, among casting agents. This woman deserves to be in better movies.

It's tempting to say there's nothing special about Welcome to Me, except that it features Wiig as the main character, and her performance certainly elevates the material. There's something very odd about this story about a woman who wins the lottery and uses the money to fund a talk show about and hosted by herself. Alice Klieg is plainly unstable from the start, and we see her very early on admitting to her shrink (an under-utilized Tim Robbins) that she's gone off her meds. It's after this that we see her winning $86 million in the California state lottery. You'd be surprised how quickly you can burn through that kind of money, and this is one of the few plausible aspects of the story here.

Alice's first instinct is to self-actualize, in her own mind, wisdom from Oprah Winfrey, whose show she has many episodes recorded on VHS. (Alice may be mentally unstable, but that alone doesn't explain why the hell she's still holding on to a VCR.) This is how the talk show called Welcome to Me comes into being. Alice attends a taping of a local show hosted by a nutritionist (Wes Bentley), and co-opts the production when testifying to the success of the product being presented, and jumping to her lottery win, which she believes is the result of faith rather than luck. Having established herself as filthy rich, she gets meetings with the production team, and literally writes out checks right there at the table when told what it would cost to produce the vanity show she has in mind for herself.

Welcome to Me, the fictional talk show as well as the movie itself, is its own special brand of weird, and I suppose there's something to be said for that. But Alice's self-indulgence -- she ultimately gets branded "an emotionall exhibitionist" -- carries over to the film itself, as it gets a little too anamored with Alice's eccentricities, at the expense of a fully coherent story. In the end, there's little to keep this movie grounded in any meaningful way.

That little, however, lies in Wiig's performance. If there's any reason to see this movie (and realistically, otherwise there isn't any), it's her. Wiig makes you care about this character, even though she can't help but be hopelessly self-involved at the expense of family and friends. This problem is only exacerbated by her sudden riches.

The inevitable redemption that comes in the end is a little too contrived, and Alice's best friend Gina (Bloodline's Linda Cardellini) reacts to Alice's public apology in a way inconsistent with her character up to that point. Honestly, Welcome to Me is a little bit of a mess, and cares little for cohesion. There's something to be said for the earnestness of the performances, though, which, if nothing else, keeps you caring.

Kristen Wiig almost salvages the comparative mess that is WELCOME TO ME.

Overall: B-
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