‘Welcome To Me’ Walks a Fine Line

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unnamed (4)Welcome to Me features Alice Klieg (Kristen Wiig), a woman who has been living in an endless cycle of swans and Oprah Winfrey reruns in Palm Dessert, CA. Diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, Alice has turned her life into bizarre routines and limited social interaction. After a fateful visit to buy her weekly lotto ticket, Alice discovers she has won the 86-million dollar jackpot from the Mega-Millions Lottery. At her press conference her inappropriate “prepared statement” is cutoff partway through due to it’s racy material. Wanting to be heard, Alice buys time from a local cable access network and has them begin to produce her show “Welcome to Me.” Filled with bizarre reenactments, animal neutering and strange cooking lessons, the owners of the network keep encouraging her in order to keep the money flowing. Gabe (Wes Bentley) sees Alice as someone who can fill his desperate need to love. Rich (James Marsden) sees her as someone who can keep the station afloat. The production managers (Joan Cusack and Jennifer Jason Leigh) just want Alice to go back to wherever she came from.  Alice’s family, including her gay ex-husband (Alan Tudyk) and best friend (Gina Cardenelli) want only to keep Alice from hurting herself. As Alice’s behavior becomes more erratic and tensions in the studio rise, the question arises to who is really running the show.

Welcome to Me is at times laugh out loud funny, but continuously walks the line of too much. Alice’s prepared statements cover topics such as female masturbation as a sedative. The sex scenes with Wes Bently are short enough to not be too gratuitous, but are still jarring. At one point, Alice walks through a casino naked with a pack of dogs.  Still, Kristen Wiig pulls off the strangely awkward yet charming Oprah wannabee,  Alice Klieg. Alice’s personality is mistaken by more than one person in the film as an artistic statement, even as the lawsuits pile up for defamation.

Kristen Wiig  bring comedy into mental illness while managing to not negate the horrors and struggles of living with Borderline Personality Disorder.  Alice seeks medical treatment as part of her original court order for disability payments through a Palm Dessert therapist. Tim Robbins portrayal of Dr. Moffat covers a humorous look at talk therapy, but he also gives Alice a good dose of straight talk when she informs him she’s gone off her medication. As Alice begins to get farther and farther out of control, her best friend Gina  stays supportive even as her life falls apart around her,  until she can just no longer deal with Alice’s selfish behaviors.  Alice Klieg does not make light of Borderline Personality Disorder, but rather points out the difficulties of living with it and the struggle to remain on medication even when one initially feels fine.

Overall, Welcome to Me is definitely worth a watch. However, viewers sensitive to language and sexual content may want to sit this one out.

Welcome to Me comes to select theaters and VOD May 1, 2015.

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