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.
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.