Release Date: May 18th, 2007 (AMC Empire 25, Regal 64th & 2nd and AMC/Loews Village 7) by THINKfilm.
The Cast: Luke Wilson, Seymour Cassel, Eddie Griffin, Kris Kristofferson, Eva Mendes, Harry Dean Stanton, Owen Wilson, Jacob Vargas, Will Ferrell.
Directed by Luke and Andrew Wilson.
BASIC PREMISE: Upon his release from prison, Wendell Baker (Luke Wilson) gets a job at a retirement, where three residents, Boyd (Cassel), Skip (Stanton), and Nasher (Kristofferson), help him to win back his ex-girlfriend, Doreen (Mendes).
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Despite sitting on the shelf for over two years, The Wendell Baker Story is a lively and silly comedy with a terrific cast. Luke Wilson stars as the title character who has been successfully selling fake driver’s licenses until he finally gets caught. He gets sent to prison and loses his girlfriend, Doreen. The comedy kicks into full gear when he starts a job at the Shady Grove retirement hotel. Will Ferrell plays Doreen’s new boyfriend and has a few laugh-out-loud funny scenes, just as expected—although it would have been beneficial if he had more scenes. Then there’s Seymour Cassell and Harry Dean Stanton as Boyd and Skip, two residents at the hotel. Watch how Cassell nonchalantly hits on two young babes at a convenience store. Owen Wilson also adds his usual offbeat comic energy as Neil, the head nurse, while Kris Kristofferson brings some gravitas to his role as Nasher, a mysterious resident who owns a plane. The only weak links include Eva Mendes, who gives a bland performance as Doreen and has zero chemistry with Wendell, and Eddie Griffin, who is quite irritating in his brief scenes as Neil’s assistant. Most of the plot seems silly and outrageous, but, fortunately, co-writer/co-director Luke Wilson has written an imaginative script that tries hard to be funny and mostly succeeds thanks to the comic timing, especially by the lively, cast.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: None is required or desired.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None, as long as you check your brain at the door.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 1
IN A NUTSHELL: Outrageously funny and imaginative with a delightfully energetic cast.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater
The "W" Menu