Lottery Winner Hosts TV Talk Show in Droll Character-Driven Dramedy
Alice is an attractive lady who is a diehard Oprah fan. She has always wanted to be just like Oprah, with her own TV series, just like her idol.
When Alice has the good fortune to win $86 million in the California Stacks Sweepstakes, she can do almost anything she wants, and what she wants is to turn her TV dream into a reality.
Kristen Wiig plays Alice Klieg, the newly-minted multimillionaire with a number of problems. As well as being rich, it turns out Alice is also a manic-depressive who is also bipolar. Now that she is rich, she talks herself into believing that she no longer needs her medication.
Visiting her shrink, played by Tim Robbins, she tells him that she doesn’t need the meds and that she’s going off them. Then she offers him a bribe to give her a clean bill of health.
Now with plenty of money, she goes to an infomercial-producing TV station to buy airtime for her new show, and sees James Marsden, who plays the station’s general manager, Rich.
Luckily for Alice, the infomercial network is struggling, and Rich needs the money to keep his network running. Rich’s business partner, who is also his brother, played by Wes Bentley isn’t so keen about taking advantage of the loony Alice. But then she turns her powers of seduction in his direction.
And so it begins.
Alice names her program “Welcome to Me,” since she’s the topic of every episode. The themes range wildly, featuring titles like “Jordana Spangler – a Liar,” “Matching Colors to Emotions,” “Lucky Foods,” “I Can Still Smell You,” and “Regulating Your Moods with a High-Protein Diet.”
All these shows have one thing in common – they focus on an aspect of the narcissistic Alice’s life.
Alice’s emotional exhibitionim turns out to be compelling enough to hold the attention of her couch potato audience, and the show’s ratings improve, as she self-destructs in front of her fans who can’t get enough of Alice as she waffles on about her orgasms, Irritable Bowel Syndrome or any other things she desires.
The burn-rate for Alice’s wacky show is $150,000 per episode, so she is heading for a serious crash-and-burn moment eventually.
Directed by Shira Piven (Jeremy’s sister),
Welcome to Me is tailor-made for Kristen Wiig’s tongue-in-cheek comedy style. The droll character-driven dramedy alternates between the vulnerable and the bizarre, but is always endearing. Kristen, an alumnus of Saturday Night Live, in her best performance since she was inBridesmaids.
In Welcome to Me, she is an anguished soul, who, against her better judgment, takes up an expensive, very embarrassing, 15 minutes of fame.
Kudos to Kristen for baring herself, literally and figuratively, to deliver a poignant performance, rather than the kind of slapstick she was known for on Saturday Night Live.
Welcome to Me
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated R for sexuality, profanity, graphic nudity and brief drug use
Running time: 87 minutes