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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
TV or Not TV?
by Betty Jo Tucker

Kristen Wiig fascinates me, but I can’t decide if she’s best at comedy or drama. Yes, I know Wiig made her showbiz mark as a very funny lady on SNL and wowed us with her hilarious turn in Bridesmaids. But she also showed impressive dramatic acting chops in Hateship Loveship and The Skeleton Twins. Happily, there’s no need for debate while watching Wiig in Welcome to Me, for she plays Alice Klieg, a role requiring great skill in both areas.

Alice sees a psychiatrist for help with her Borderline Personality Disorder -- but goes off her medications after winning a lottery pay-off of 86 million dollars. What will she do with all that money?      

A TV show just about her --

that’s all she wants. Is this the cure?

Not so, Doc says. She needs much more.

Mental help, he means. But she gets sore.  

She wins big bucks and buys a show.

Now she can tell Doc where to go.  

“Welcome to Me” her show is named.

It’s tell-all time, and friends are shamed.

Broadcasts become more weird yet fun.

And folks go wild at what she’s done.

Revealing all, even the bad,

seems okay now. Isn’t that sad?

Wiig makes this role one of her best.  

We laugh and cry. She passed the test!

Although we can’t help feeling sorry for the self-absorbed Alice, we have to laugh at the bizarre show she puts on for everyone to see. Riding in on a huge swan, she oversees re-enactments of traumatic situations she’s experienced or cooks her weird recipes or talks about various topics relating to her philosophy with no holds barred.

Why does Alice get away with all this? Because she’s paying for everything, and the TV company owned by two brothers (Wes Bentley and James Marsden) faced serious financial problems before bringing her on. Some of the people working on Alice’s show are shocked by her demands and behavior, but most of them go with the flow. Strong performances by Bentley, Marsden and Joan Cusack (as one of the crew members) help make the “strange things are happening” atmosphere seem quite real indeed.

However, next to Wiig’s tour de force performance here, Tim Robbins and Linda Cardellini deserve the loudest shout outs for their portrayals of Alice’s frustrated psychiatrist and her worried friend, respectively. Robbins comes across as the type of shrink anyone would feel fortunate to find; and who wouldn’t want Cardellini’s Gina as a pal? She knows all of Alice’s faults and likes her just the same. But….will Alice end up being a true friend to Gina?

Welcome to Me includes some very silly scenes and really works hard to earn its “R” rating. Still, this creative dramedy shines a needed spotlight on the trend to share everything about our lives with strangers. Facebook, Twitter, and Reality Shows, etc. would not be possible without this widespread motivation, so those offerings benefit from it. But do we? The jury is still out.      

(Released by Alchemy and rated “R” for sexual content, some graphic nudity, language and brief drug use.)

For more information about Welcome to Me, go to the IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes website.

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