Movie review: The Wendell Baker Story
I chuckled, I smiled and I covered my eyes on occasion, and left the 49th The Times bfi London Film Festival showing of The Wendell Baker Story with a big feel-good factor. The Wendell Baker Story is not going to take the world by storm, but it will get extremely positive word of mouth advertising. It is a charming, lovely, funny, touching and unusual movie.
Wendell Baker (Luke Wilson) ends up in jail when his latest half-baked scam goes pear-shaped. His long-suffering girlfriend Doreen (Eva Mendes) dumps him almost as soon as Wendell gets to his cell.
It's a wake up call for the lovelorn romantic, and Wendell makes a vow to straighten up, fly right and win back the love of his life.
His parole board learn that Wendell would like to working with people and perhaps run a Hotel some day. Releasing him, the parole board gets him a job at the Shady Grove retirement hotel run by the corrupt owner Neil King (Owen Wilson) who has sinister plans afoot for Wendell and more terminal plans for the retirees in his care.
Wendell soon befriends residents Boyd (Seymour Cassel) and Skip (Harry Dean Stanton), old lags keen on getting some girlie action for themselves and to advise Wendell on how he might win Doreen back from her new boyfriend, the wealthy grocer Dave Bix (Will Ferrell).
The characters never really get much depth, the plot has wholes in it you could drive a London bus through, but it doesn't matter, this is a lovely movie telling a simple story of redemtion.
I liked the film The Wendell Baker Story. I still have a huge grin on my face when I think of it. 8/10.