As far as adaptations of Daniel Clowes' graphic novels go, Wilson is much more convincing than Art School Confidential, but it can't match the hysterical level of quirkiness of Ghost World. Lo and behold, I'm waiting for Patience.
Wilson is not a very good movie, but I laughed a lot. By a comedy's standards, that suggests it succeeded at its most difficult hurdle, and it also helps that my love for misanthropic grumps is incredibly high. I admired its Curb Your Enthusiasm-esque convictions. But the third act dials back on humor and tone too much to wrap up cleanly, so much that I was just waiting for Luciano Michelini's "Frolic" to play us out
To say that the original WILSON is a graphic novel is something of a misrepresentation. It was a series of strips, redolent of PEANUTS. And the titular anti-hero struck me as a kind of grown-up depressive in the Charlie Brown mode. The screen Wilson, as rendered by Harrelson, is, well, hardly a depressive, strictly speaking. He is kind of a manic shoot-from-the-hip eccentric. He seems to be teaching us life lessons.
Not as great as Ghost World but a lot better than Art School Confidential. Woody Harrleson is great as Dan Clowes' mundane character Wilson as is Laura Dern as his ex-wife who doesn't know what she wants out of life. There are some laugh out loud moments in the movie but the film doesn't match the goofiness and almost non-linear story telling of the graphic novel.
I like Johnson as a filmmaker and suspect he is gonna succeed with his mid-level indies. But Wilson seems to arrive with a bit of baggage that it can't separate from. I could be wrong, but here we get three distinct Sundance templates in one film, a few interesting in their right but messily assembled. The middle section is most conventional, while the bookends upend it in interesting enough ways.
A decent adaptation of the hilarious graphic novel, likely thanks to Clowes actually penning the screenplay. The story has some changes made to it, and it winds up a tad more upbeat than the comic, but it was still a funny film.