Wilson (2017)

Director: Craig Johnson

Stars: Woody Harrelson, Laura Dern, Cheryl Hines, Isabella Amara

This graphic novel adaption, directed by Craig Johnson, will not supplant the volleyball of the same name (from the movie Castaway) with household recognition of the name Wilson. The considerable potential of this movie lies in the source material and most notably the inclusion of Woody Harrelson as the lead. Unfortunately, the limitations of dialogue and script diminish the result.

Wilson can be described with one adjective…weird. He seems to relish in uncomfortable situations and encroachment of personal space. In any public situation, he seeks to sit right next to a person when a myriad of less invasive options are available.  He hates technology and wants to converse with people regardless of their wish to do so.

Wilson’s father dies early in the film and after being distraught over his passing, he seeks out his ex-wife Pippi (Laura Dern).  He finds her and interacts with her in typical Wilson fashion…ie. dysfunctional. Somehow he manages to kindle a relationship with Pippi, who is a recovering addict that left Wilson 17 years prior. We learn that Pippi did not have an abortion when she parted from Wilson but gave the child up for adoption.  Wilson convinces the struggling Pippi to seek out and contact their daughter to great comedic effect.

Overall, the movie has its moments of effective comedy delivered by veteran and capable actors.  However, the movie attempts to tie together a middle-aged aversion to technology and a complete inability to have appropriate interactions in life. It leads one to believe the latter is a natural progression for the former and its cure, a weak premise at best. The characters appear to be play acting, without relevant and real responses to the situations at hand.  Harrelson lifts an otherwise dismal script.


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