Office Christmas Party
Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…
These are hyper-sensitive times. One wrongly worded tweet about an issue such as mental illness can unleash a torrent of social-media tongue lashings within seconds of posting.
Therefore, I must salute the efforts of director Shira Piven, who somehow manages to walk the fine line between mawkish and mocking with “Welcome to Me,” a humorous if occasionally horrific pitch-black satire about an unstable lottery winner from Palm Desert, Calif., who goes off her meds and invests her $86 million jackpot into a vanity talk show. Her one and only topic? Herself.
“Network,” “The King of Comedy,” “Being There,” “The Truman Show” and its cousin “EDtv”—“Welcome to Me” owes a debt to each and every one as it comments on the skewed state of celebrity and the ongoing popularity of reality shows. But those films arrived long before validating every living moment with a selfie became a national pastime and YouTube was deemed a legit outlet to discover fresh talent. Now everyone is their own brand.
What those films lacked, however, was a woman protagonist—an essential ingredient in “Welcome to Me,” with its distinctly feminine style of inward reflection and lashing out. Much early praise has been focused on its star, Kristen Wiig, who has always leaned towards the funny strange rather than the funny ha-ha side of comedy as exhibited by such “Saturday Night Live” alter egos as malevolent grade-school imp Gilly and baby-handed Lawrence Welk singer Dooneese. Since moving onto the big screen, however, she has added a nuanced dramatic edge to her skill set that finds her digging deeper inside the damaged psyches of her characters.