3 April 2005 | modelcadet18
a light comedy with local color
I just saw The Wendell Baker Story at what is its third screening, at the Virginia Film Festival in Charlottesville.
Although, as stated in the prior comment, this movie will be no cult nor mainstream classic, it is highly entertaining. For a comedy, it is considerably light: the humor is mostly situational.
I personally found Wendell Baker's greatest success in the developing of the secondary characters as foils. The movie does not have opening credits, instead only introducing the title. As such, I was pleasantly surprised to see many high profile actors in roles fitting well within the film. In the post-screening interview, Luke Wilson discussed how this choice for no opening credits was as an "album cover" and that, with the focus directly on the introduction of an Austin Texas feel.
The acting in the film is generally good. Highlights for me were the performances of Grant James and Kris Kristofferson. I was, unfortunately, disappointed in Eva Mendes' delivery of her character. I feel the 'girlfriend who 'the guy' loses' cliché could have been as fresh as the other foil supporting characters.
The film has many beautiful shots on location in Texas, although the editing at times is choppy (granted the film is still not finished). The music is absolutely wonderful: the folky rock feel contributing in subtle persistence to the southwestern feel of the film.
I enjoyed this film. It was not profound... do not go to this movie to see another Royal Tenenbaums. The film is a comedy, but it is neither dark nor slapstick. It very much reminds me of Sideways in that both take advantage of a specific local color create a more personal and more relaxed movie. As such, while not often was I laughing, the ever-present humor kept me entertained.