‘Welcome to Me’
In her lead roles at least, Kristen Wiig doesn’t tend to do in movies what made her famous on “Saturday Night Live”: play weird, creating socially retarded grotesques blissfully oblivious of how normal humankind operates. The exception is “Welcome to Me,” an indie comedy that brings the nutty in full force. Wiig plays a damaged woman who comes into a lot of money — wealth she decides to drown in a cable access show starring her staring stiff and bug-eyed at the camera as she splutters forth whatever’s on her mind in between questionable baking segments. Sometimes she screams epithets about those who wronged her in high school. There are also swans.
Perhaps inevitably, drama takes over, and Wiig’s hero even has a real-world explanation that kills the fun. It’s what happens when you drag a sketch comedy-worthy character into the real world. It’s a shame as it gets a lot of mileage out of the juxtaposition of shots of Wiig offering inspired derangement and everyone else — the TV crew, her family, her bestie (Linda Cardellini) — staring in shock at what’s going on before them. To her credit, Wiig almost pulls the tonal shift off through her subtle sympathy for the character, but a movie that lets Wiig rip without any concessions would be something close to Dada.
The new, fifth “Mission: Impossible” is a delight, arguably the long-running series’ zenith even ignoring Tom Cruise hanging off a plane as it takes off. But nearly as fun is the original, no less because it’s the last time iconoclastic director Brian De Palma and the mainstream got along. De Palma is in his element in the many set pieces, ranging from the now classic wire-hanging break-in to the explode-y bullet train climax to the more restrained first act job, which shows that few are as good as the director of “Femme Fatale” at keeping multiple plates spinning in the air. There’s so much distraction going on that the film is a kind of heist itself, sweeping viewers up in its wake so they don’t attention to the silly, MacGuffin-heavy plot. The endless vomiting up about the “NOC list” is a whole lot easier to take when Vanessa Redgrave is around.
In between “Airplane!” and “Ruthless People,” the ZAZ team — Zuckers David and Jerry, plus Jim Abraham — quietly made their other masterpiece: a terminally undersung spy spoof with straight man Val Kilmer bumbling about Europe. Some of the material being sent-up may be too rarified for mainstream viewers, but that’s the key to the success. Few bits in ZAZ work prior, including “Police Squad!”, or after, including “The Naked Gun” and “Hot Shots!”, can top the line, “I know a little German; he’s right over there!”