The Culture Movies

'Wilson' should be sharper and funnier

'Wilson' stars Woody Harrelson, who is ingratiatingly hangdog as a man who discovers he has a 17-year-old daughter. The movie is directed by Craig Johnson and based on Daniel Clowes's graphic novel.

'Wilson' stars Laura Dern (l.) and Woody Harrelson (r.).
Wilson Webb/20th Century Fox
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( R )
  • Peter Rainer
    Film critic

Woody Harrelson is ingratiatingly hangdog in the so-so “Wilson,” directed without much oomph by Craig Johnson and based on Daniel Clowes’s graphic novel. As the title character, Harrelson spends much of his screen time in various stages of moping and haranguing, living out his small-town, cruddy apartment existence in an extended state of blahness.

He eventually finds his way to nearby Portland, Ore., and his ex-wife, Pippi (a very good Laura Dern), a post-rehab cocktail waitress, and the 17-year-old daughter, Claire (the equally good Isabella Amara), he never knew he had. Claire, like her father, is an outlier, which suits Wilson just fine. A few good cameos from David Warshofsky, as a prickly old friend of Wilson’s, and Margo Martindale, as a date gone wrong, grace the torpid landscape. But it should all be sharper and funnier than it is. Grade: B- (Rated R for language throughout and some sexuality.) 

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