Based on a graphic novel, Woody Harrelson plays Wilson, a grumpy, lonely, middle aged man who misses his ex-wife. Complaining about everything, Wilson rediscovers his ex-wife, only to find out that he had a teenage daughter that he never knew he had.
Woody Harrelson is well cast as the neurotic Wilson, odd and obnoxious. Though he is the type of person who can get on your last nerve, there is something about the likable loser that is sentimental. In the hands of a lesser actor, the character of Wilson could really be off-putting, but Woody Harrelson plays it well.
The story itself never really connects completely. It jumps from scene to scene with minimal connective tissue.
That connection is Wilson. He initially starts with the dog, Pepper. Then, he goes to find his ex-wife Pippi (Laura Dern). Then he convinces Pippi to stalk the daughter that she put up for adoption, Claire (Isabella Amara). Wilson goes to jail. Wilson tries to adapt to the outside world after prison. He hooks up with the dog sitter.
All of these moments are strung together haphazardly but much of it works because of Woody Harrelson.
The scenes with Wilson and Claire were sweet, but they ended too quickly. The film, which had seemed to focus on the parent-child relationship, switched gears again.
All of the things that Wilson goes through seem to have low stakes for the character most of the time which makes the movie weaker. Wilson could have been a considerably more deep story of this curmudgeon and his struggles to get through the rest of the world. Instead the movie chooses the sentimental path.
That is not a bad thing, but it certainly changes the tone of the film.
Woody Harrelson is good in this movie and it was funny and sweet. It is worth the time it took to watch it. I just see what could have been a really strong movie hidden among the sentimentality.