WELCOME TO ME is the story of Alice Klieg, a woman with borderline personality disorder who wins the lottery shortly after choosing to go off of her medication. Rather than using her funds to seek further treatment for her disorder, or give back to her friends and family who have supported her throughout the years, she instead choose to spend the money to star in her own cable talk show. As the show’s popularity grows, her narcissistic obsession with fame begins to alienate her from her friends and family, and ultimately Alice must decide whether the newfound fame she’s experiencing is worth the personal cost.
I enjoyed the overall message this film had about our society’s obsession with fame, the folly of the cult of personality, our voyeuristic fixation on watching real life drama from our television sets, and the idea that money can’t buy happiness. The film even had a lot to say about the importance of listening to medical professionals when it comes to staying on your medication, which, believe it or not many films tend to preach the exact opposite. These are all themes that I don’t often see together in film, and I really appreciate that the movie doesn’t shy away from these issues.
The performances in this film also really knock it out of the park. Kristen Wiig, who stars as Alice, does an excellent job playing a woman teetering on the edge. Rounding out the cast is James Marsden, Linda Cardellini, Wes Bentley, Alan Tudyk, Tim Robbins, and Joan Cusack, all of whom do an excellent job in their respective roles. While the casting in this movie is perfect, the supporting cast often feels underutilized. Alan Tudyk and Joan Cusack in particular are among my favorite comedic actors of all time, but their characters are almost completely over shadowed by Alice’s larger than life personality. While the entire cast does a great job, Kristen Wiig almost does her job too well as our main character. I adore many of her performances outside of this film, particularly her voice work in THE LOONEY TUNES SHOW and DESPICABLE ME 2, and her performance as Alice is as complex as it comes. Alice is meant to be funny, uncomfortable, and somewhat tragic all at once, and Kristen Wiig somehow manages to hit all of these beats perfectly. But sadly this brings me to my overall problem with the film: it’s far too awkward for me to find it enjoyable.
Despite how well the film is directed, how much I like the overall themes, and how well each member of the cast performed, at the end of the day I can’t say that I enjoyed seeing this movie. Watching a person with a personality disorder going through her emotional baggage on TV in the most uncomfortable way possible, while also gaining a stronger following because people love watching real-life drama, made me pity our heroine and her friends more than it made me want to laugh at them. We all know from the success of reality TV, and from certain videos on the internet, that people love watching a figurative train wreck. It’s the reason why Jerry Springer still has a show after all these years. Even though there is always an element of cruelty in every form of comedy, this film relies on secondhand embarrassment as the crux of its humor. Personally, it’s simply not a comedic style that fits my sensibilities because to me, awkward scenes don’t necessarily equal funny scenes, and sadly just about every scene in this film is meant to make you feel awkward and uncomfortable. On the one hand, this film does it’s job extremely well. On the other, I can’t say that it was an experience that I enjoyed.
This film might not have been for me, but all in all I believe that the directing, the themes, and performances still make this a worthwhile film. If you’re like me and you’re not a fan of this comedic style, you might want to sit this one out. However, if you’re a fan of the cast or if awkward humor is your jam, then you’ll definitely love watching the show.
What did you think of the film? Be sure to let us know @TheMovieChickk!
~ Megan Salinas
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