- Owen Wilson, Stephen Root, Michaela Watkins
- Written by
- Brit McAdams
- Directed by
- Brit McAdams
- Run Time
- 1h 35min
- Release Date
- April 7th, 2023
As a kid I didn’t have the ten thousand different channels to watch, which often meant watching whatever that was on. Even with those limitations I don’t think given the choice as a kid, I would have choose to watch a show where a man with big hair would paint pictures and talk and nothing else. Well I did, along with countless others watch that show and that man, Bob Ross and his painting would have a calming effect on you as you would watch him create his work. Now Brit McAdams feature debut tells of such a man, beautiful hair and all, and the effect he had on one small town.
Carl (Owen Wilson) is sort of a big thing, as he is the #1 painter on Vermont’s public access channel. That title it seems comes with all kind of perks, including the women of the channel all longing to be with and around him. Carl is pretty laid back, but when it comes to range in his work, he really doesn’t have any as all he seems to do is paint Mount Mansfield and the landscape around it. Although Carl’s show is killing it, the rest of the channel is running out of money, which brings Tony (Stephen Root), the channels boss, to bring in another painter, to give the people what they want. This new painter is named Ambrosia (Ciera Renée) and while she sites Carl as an influence, her different paintings start to take the beloved attention away. That starts a downward spiral for Carl, as he doesn’t know how to react now that he is no longer the center of attention anymore, but it also sort of sparks an awakening. It is though at Carl’s lowest that a perceived accident reignites the love of Carl’s paintings and reminds everyone what a jewel he is to Vermont.
Written and directed by Brit McAdams, Paint leans hard that notion that everyone loves a good oddball and for most of the film his bet is right. Bringing strong “Wes Anderson” vibes, but a more subdued version, Paint allows itself to get weird, while staying in the cozy confines of the atmosphere it has created. When it does work, it is because of Wilson and the rest of the cast’s commitment, always expecting something special to come at any moment. This is one of those movies where there is more to what you see, as it has a lot of bits in it, that are not always front and center. The gags might not work on one level, but some of them do on others, as the filmmakers take them as far as they can.
Paint, because of Wilson and the supporting cast make this film enjoyable, but that’s not to say that all the paint strokes work. McAdams seems to shift from its cleverness to an uneven romantic subplot, thus causing any momentum the film had to dissipate. It also has the hard task of rooting for a character like Carl, who seems likable enough, but also would be that guy most of us wouldn’t want to hang round with. Those things though didn’t derail me from enjoying Paint, as I had a great time with the first two acts. I hope Wilson does more roles like this and while the final piece that is this film won’t be hanging in a museum anytime soon, it would look good in just about any other setting.