We know that Kristen Wiig has proven herself to be actress of extreme range and talent, as she has demonstrated in comedies such as Bridesmaids and Friends With Kids. In just in few years after her Emmy-nominated stint on Saturday Night Live, she established herself as an actress worthy in dramas, and my personal favorite one is The Skeleton Twins. In director Shira Piven’s Welcome To Me, an uncomfortably flawed, but quirky depiction of mental illness, TV obsession, and fame, she handles both comedy and drama with flair, even if the film can be mostly beneath her genius.
She plays Alice Klieg, a complex woman with Borderline Personality Disorder, who wins the lottery, quits her medication, and decides to use her winnings to buy her own talk show. Inspired by her idol, Oprah, she decides to broadcast her dirty secrets as a form of shameless exhibitionism and a means to share her odd views on everything from health to relationships to neutering pets. After becoming a national success, especially because of her unusual habits, she loses herself, alienates her friends and family, and lets her fame get the best of her. Redeeming herself in the end, she learns that if she remains true to herself and the ones she loves, then she will be able to achieve true happiness.
This type of story isn’t exactly original, and it has been told a million times before, in better films such as Requiem For a Dream and One Flew Over the Cuckoo Nest. However, those films take mental illness into more serious approach, sometimes resulting in tragedy. Welcome To Me puts a bold and satirical spin on the subject, while confronting topics such as money, nutrition, the media, and being famous.
Obviously Wiig dominates the film, and that creates certain problems, because as great as she is the film, the supporting actors such as Wes Bentley, Linda Cardellini, Joan Cusack, James Marsden, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Tim Robbins are not given enough to do. As hard as they try to give their characters much weight as they can, they fail to steal their moment away from Wiig. Another flaw is that sometimes the film becomes too uncomfortable, with squirm-inducing scenes such as Wiig spaying and neutering her dogs on live TV, having sex with an interviewer in the back of a limo, and walking completely naked in a casino. These moments could have been played down more in order to create more emotional material while giving viewers a deep look into mental disorder.
In terms of the DVD and Blu-ray, the special features don’t deliver or exactly help the film. There is just an eight-minute featurette about making the film, and several trailers for Are You Here, Accidental Love, Fading Gigolo, and The Humbling.
Overall, this is a movie that doesn’t require several viewings, but it isn’t as bad as it sounds; it’s just not as good. I think Wiig is amazing, but this movie is far from perfect. That’s too bad, because it could have been better.