There are movies so bad they are good, then there are movies that are just bad. “Wilson,” directed by Craig Johnson (“The Skeleton Twins”) and written by Daniel Clowes (“Art School Confidential”) based off his own graphic novel, “Wilson” is almost unwatchable.
Woody Harrelson (“The Edge of Seventeen”) stars as Wilson, a socially awkward man with a heart of gold. Harrelson gives it his all, that much must be said. It’s just a shame the character he portrays is so incredibly unlikeable that it’s hard to care about him or root for him at any step along the way. The plot follows Wilson as he attempts to reconnect with his drug-using ex-wife and the daughter said wife gave up for adoption 17 years ago. It’s weird. It’s also just not entertaining.
The film moves at a glacial pace. It takes forever for the story to get moving, and the overall plot is just so hackneyed and ridiculous that I spent almost the entire movie wishing it were over. Ninety minutes too long, “Wilson” never manages to rise above it’s schlocky writing and one-note characters. If the graphic novel has anything going for it, none of it can be found in the translation to the big screen.
Movies like “Wilson” are movies that need to stop being made. Today, there’s a whole genre of film that follows this idea that “weird realism” is a good way to connect with audiences. It’s characters are supposed to be more “real” because they are so unlikeable and it’s situations portray people who only make the wrong decisions because that’s what “real” life is like. No, it’s not. A particularly disturbing element of “Wilson” is the way the film treats adoption. The Wilson character never seems to understand that in all relevant and emotional ways, the daughter his wife gave up is not his daughter. The movie treats the girl's adoptive parents as villains, when all they do is ask that a creepy man stop stalking and kidnapping their daughter. Wilson eventually gets thrown in jail and then gets together with his dog-sitter, who is at least twenty years his younger.
All this random nonsense adds up to a whole lot of nothing. No amount of wacky shenanigans can make up for uninteresting characters and cringe worthy dialogue. These strange exploits might’ve worked well as a comic strip, but there’s no indication of that here, nor is there any indication of what it was about the comic that made anyone on earth think it would make a good movie.