Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Welcome to Me, or: Alice Through the Looking Glass

Update from the past week:  Christa and I are both hanging in there but mutually agreed we could use a reminder that we’ve got this shit.  Everything.  All of it.  Which sometimes means the schadenfreude of watching other people mess up their lives so much more than you have.

My biggest regret is not thinking of this in February and having the alliterative Fuck Up February for our theme.  Fine, not my only regret.  Only relevant regret.

Kristen Wiig is kicking off this month for us, even though she only plays a fuck up on TV (and film).

The Film:

Welcome to Me

Where to Watch:

Netflix (US)

The Premise:

After winning the lottery, Alice decides to write, produce, and star in a show entirely about herself.

The Uncondensed Version:

Even though the above premise sounds over the top, this is actually a reasonably subtle comedy (at times) with some emotional depth.

Alice is a woman with Borderline Personality Disorder whose longest relationship seems to be with Oprah.  She has a collection of Oprah’s shows recorded onto VHS that she watches religiously because Oprah gives her much-needed guidance, a judgment-free zone, and a low-risk opportunity for human connection.

When we meet Alice, it appears she’s not taking her medication regularly (if at all), and her mandated visits with a counselor aren’t going well.  Nevertheless, she manages to cope just well enough that she can go on quietly living her life.

a woman in sunglasses walks by a row of parked cars, carrying an intricately embroidered parasol
Raindrops do not keep falling on my head because this is California.

Major disruption = Alice wins millions in the state lottery.  With so much money at her disposal, she no longer needs to follow the rules to receive disability, and she is free to pursue her dream:  starring in her own talk show.

Luckily, James Marsden plays a Hollywood sleaze just desperate enough to think this sounds like a great idea.  His brother is a bit more skeptical but likes Alice herself, causing complications further down the road.

Surprisingly, the show isn’t quite as much of a train wreck as it seems it will be.  It’s an unintentionally surreal show that features swan boats,  grudge-filled reenactments of conversations Alice had with kids from high school she still resents, and overly in-depth discussions about how frequently Alice masturbates.

a woman wearing latex gloves sits at a kitchen table, holding up a plate of pink cookies
Paleo diet cookies?

Some of Alice’s ideas are relatively straightforward (at least theoretically), like when she decides to host a cooking segment.  But the segments become increasingly bizarre, including a shadow puppet reenactment of her arrest in Canada and neutering a dog live on TV.  I’m sorry, but PETA would’ve been all over that shit.

a woman in pink scrubs stands in the spotlight, a sedated dog lying on a table in front of her
A lawsuit for you, and a lawsuit for you…everyone gets a lawsuit!

Though Alice has everything she wants, her increasingly over-the-top, egocentric behavior alienates her best friend, family, counselor, and allies on the show.  Ultimately, is the show worth it if Alice is her only fan?

3.5/5 Pink Panther Heads

Like Alice herself, there’s something about this film that is unsettling yet fascinating.  I cared about what happened to her even though she is extremely self-absorbed, in complete denial, and an awful friend.

On the other hand, she is very upfront about what she feels and doesn’t care about anyone’s approval except her own, which must be very freeing.  Alice clearly has a lot of problems, but they don’t hold her back or make her unlikeable.

What annoys me most about this film is after seemingly burning all of her bridges, the end wraps things up a bit too neatly.  I expected it to go much darker.  Am I just in an overly cynical place right now?  (No, let’s be real—that place is my permanent residence.)

Would Christa ride in on a swan boat or cause a mysterious accident on set?  Read her review here to find out!

2 thoughts on “Welcome to Me, or: Alice Through the Looking Glass”

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