Fresh out of the Sundance Film Festival comes another dark comedy from graphic novelist, Daniel Clowes (author of the source material for the 2001 cult-film Ghost World) who teams up with director, Craig Johnson (The Skeleton Twins), for a cynical, offbeat dramedy about an anti-social man (Woody Harrelson) who re-connects with his ex-wife (Laura Dern) and his teenage daughter (Isabella Amara).
While the film shows occasional flashes of genuine heart and humor, it’s quick to pull the rug from under your feet to reveal its true dark and cynical nature (only minus any wit, or purpose). Imagine if someone tried to recreate a more accessible Todd Solondz film, that aims to be as mean-spirited as possible, until it drastically switches to an artificial, heartfelt family-drama, only to repeat the cycle again. It’s exhausting and lacks any true focus.
The first 20 minutes of “Wilson” are truly insufferable, as we’re introduced to our awkward, unlikeable lead. While Enid, the central character of Ghost World, was cynical and often rude, she was still likable and had some wit to her. Here, Wilson is needlessly annoying and without any real motives. He’s occasionally saved by the supporting characters, but even then nearly all of them prove to be just as, if not more, unlikable than him. It’s not completely terrible, and the run time is luckily only 94-short minutes, however it’s an unfortunate waste of talent in an unfocused and unsatisfying film.