It’s shocking to realize in the closing credits that Daniel Clowes adapted the screenplay for his own graphic novel, since the sensibility that ends up on the screen here is almost unrecognizable as his. The story of Wilson (Woody Harrelson)—a long-divorced, filter-less misanthrope—was, in Clowes’ book, the almost heartbreakingly sad tale of a lonely man grasping for any kind of connection to give his life meaning. Here, his misadventures—including tracking down his ex-wife (Laura Dern) and finding the now-teenage daughter she gave up for adoption—become merely the stuff of quirky indie dysfunctional-family dramedy. Harrelson gives Wilson a kick of humor in his self-thwarting ways, yet by sanding down the rough edges of its protagonist’s misery and isolation, the movie turns him into sort of an eccentric uncle, stripping the episodic story of any chance at resonance. As for the ending: It’s hard to imagine a way the source material’s conclusion could have worked in a way that wasn't profoundly depressing, but the resolution that ends up on screen makes it hard to believe Clowes had any part in it, at least without a gun to his head.
Director: Craig Johnson
Producer: Mary Jane Skalski and Jared Goldman
Cast: Woody Harrelson, Laura Dern, Judy Greer, Margo Martindale, Cheryl Hines, Isabella Amara, David Warshofsky, Mary Rajskub, James Saito, Tom Proctor and Bruce Bohne