Every thing concerning the backstory of Hassmann’s characteristic is inspiring, particularly to unbiased filmmakers who commit a hundred percent to their imaginative and prescient, no matter it might be. Sadly, the outcome is a kind of movies that does not actually work on any stage. Even for a picaresque plot comprised of incidents and moments. It is a flat and disjointed work that lurches ahead and stops and lurches ahead once more all through its transient working time—a labor of affection that does not ship.
The over-reaching manufacturing values are characterised by unconvincing green-screen work, which could probably have been transformed from a legal responsibility to an asset if the film had leaned into the chintziness and gone for one thing extra “storybook.” The supporting gamers (together with the late Peter Bogdanovich as an alcoholic supervisor on the lodge the place Greta stays, and Blaine Gray as Duke, a good-hearted Elvis impersonator who takes a elaborate to her) are cartoony, cardboard cutout, indie-movie Americana “sorts,” outlined by one or two main traits. The humor appears to need to be kooky-harmless and bitingly satirical on the identical time, impulses that cancel one another out.
It may need labored despite itself if Hassmann’s efficiency had been dynamic sufficient to collect all of it up and unify it by way of sheer originality and power. However whereas she’s a sexy, likable, sympathetic lead, there isn’t any discernible comedian point-of-view to her efficiency, and her bodily resemblance to Madeline Kahn circa-Nineteen Seventies does not do her any favors. Chances are you’ll end up imagining what a superb, consistently shocking performer like Kahn, or a contemporary equal like Kristen Wiig, or an unknown who was extra of a dynamo, may need carried out.
Or maybe not. The character of Greta is narratively a zero, drifting from one catastrophe to the subsequent, whether or not she’s by chance setting her husband’s home on fireplace throughout her nighttime escape or hiding the nest-egg of Euros she took from him below a motel mattress solely to get up to seek out that it was stolen following a drunken escapade with an odd man.
Naive blank-slate protagonists like Gulliver, Candide, Forrest Gump and Barbie had been no less than supported by a storyteller’s unified structure and targeted drive. This movie retains genuflecting in the direction of a extra cartoonishly “large” mode, leaving Greta deserted on the facet of a freeway and having her appear to drop out of the sky in entrance of bewildered onlookers and so forth. However though it clearly appreciates that kind of slapstick, it does not know the way to execute it in a approach that sells it, so the result’s extra cringe-inducing than hilarious or charming. And ultimately, it is laborious to say what its opinion is of Germany, America, the position of popular culture iconography in shaping personalities, or anything. Is that this a satire, or does it simply need us to suppose it’s?
The CinemaScope-dimension imagery, credited to Marco Cappetta and Alexa Ihrt, is the second smartest thing concerning the movie, though there are moments when it overwhelms the slightness of what is onscreen. The perfect factor concerning the film is the near-nonstop use of snippets of Willie Nelson’s music, however you could possibly create that by yourself with a playlist, had been you so inclined.
“Willie and Me” is comprised of love and a dream. I’ve not often rooted more durable for a film to succeed or been sadder when it did not.