Movie review: 'Wilson'

Brad Keefe
Laura Dern and Woody Harrelson in "Wilson"

In his role as the title character of “Wilson,” Woody Harrelson plays a different kind of middle-aged misanthrope — one who is chatty and honest to a fault.

“Wilson” is the third feature film adaptation of the works of graphic novelist Daniel Clowes, the man behind “Ghost World” and “Art School Confidential.” It boasts plenty of the dry and quirky wit you'd expect, although the story structure hits some bumps on the way to the screen.

Wilson doesn't have many friends, and in some of his social interactions, it's easy to see why. Whether it's a table outside a coffee shop or a men's room urinal, Wilson has no concept of personal space, engaging strangers in friendly-but-odd chit-chat about how our little handheld devices are taking over human interaction.

But it's one of those devices that brings up Wilson's past, as he stumbles across the whereabouts of an estranged past love (Laura Dern) and learns that he has a teenage daughter he never knew existed.

Harrelson makes Wilson warmer than his cold outlook — a man desperate for human contact and to love and be loved. He also delivers the wry wit needed in a character who also narrates much of the film.

The dark humor is consistent and funny if you're into this vein, but the episodic nature of the story makes the viewing experience uneven, particularly a funny but out-of-character turn towards the end.

Director Craig Johnson (“The Skeleton Twins”) revels in the neuroses, but this is a movie only a misanthrope could love.


Opens Friday

3 stars out of 5