Sunday, 10 May 2015

REVIEW - WELCOME TO ME (SHIRA PIVEN)


A little love letter to oddity, Welcome to Me bears the creative stamps of several, each arguing over point and purpose though mercifully agreed on tone. Quirk is the order of the day, and not the self-conscious kind of quirk. Indeed, it's the opposite, as these characters (or, largely, this main character) possess a void of self-awareness that markedly increases their affability. The filmmaking, too, treats the material with restraint and respect - perhaps too much, in fact, as Welcome to Me never properly springs to life and justifies the assertion implied in the casting that this is a major comedy event. One could observe such an ensemble and deduce that their collective talent is thoroughly squandered; one could do the same, though deduce that it is precisely this collective talent that elevates Welcome to Me. What it cannot do is provide the film the cohesion that it strives for - the sneaky sparks of snark that undermine the screenplay's affection for Kristen Wiig's mentally afflicted lottery winner make for cute little subversive touches, but attention swerves from commenting on her illness to commenting on reality TV and the media, to the effect of economic factors on working people, to qualms about the state of healthcare in the US. It's the thematic indecision that hinders Welcome to Me the most, and serves as the principal reason for the film's inadequacy as a commanding comedy milestone, albeit of modest proportions. Seen for what it is, however, that simply being a little love letter to oddity, the film is notably more successful.