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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Owen Wilson ‘paints’ a powerful performance

Courtesy of Danielle Freiberg
Paint featuring Owen Wilson.

The new Bob Ross imitation movie, “Paint,” falls short as a comedy, but excels as a coming-of-age film about finding yourself within your passion and understanding that competition in art is inevitable. 

Owen Wilson’s extensive filmography transcends many genres, although he is undoubtedly known for his comedy roles in films such as “Wedding Crashers” and “The Royal Tenenbaums.” Wilson has now taken on the role of Carl Nargle in the Bob-Ross-inspired comedy film about Vermont’s beloved, soft-spoken landscape painter, whose television program on PBS Burlington has fans from all over teaching themselves the art of painting. 

The movie follows Carl as he navigates the devastating news that he will have to share the spotlight of his television program with another artist, Ambrosia, portrayed by Ciara Renée. 

The film’s comedic approach can be compared to Wes Anderson films like “Moonrise Kingdom,” where jokes are situational and the characters’ awkward personalities are the punchlines of many jokes. 

While this type of comedy appeals to many people, the film had opportunities to make stronger and more thought-out jokes that they ultimately passed on. There were moments in the film where it feels like you have to laugh just because you are aware that a joke is supposed to be made. 

Many suggestive sexual jokes were made throughout the movie, some of which were the stronger jokes in the film. Others, however, didn’t land the way anticipated. 

Aside from the comedy, the main plot of the movie was very strong and proved itself to be incredibly enjoyable. They developed each character beautifully, and the audience found themselves to be rooting for our leading man, Carl, despite his many flaws. 

His shortcomings made him very human, rather than creating a character that was “perfect.” Viewers will find themselves recognizing that a character can sometimes be an unfortunate person, but despite it all, you hope to see them succeed and come out on top. 

Audiences will see Carl navigate his journey of losing his passion and needing to find it after the people around him begin to flock to Ambrosia’s side rather than his. Carl gets knocked down and after getting back up numerous times, he falls again, which felt very realistic for the struggles of an artist. Carl doubts his own artistic abilities and wonders if people will still love him as he’s being pushed into the background.

It was also refreshing to see that this wasn’t just a Bob Ross parody movie, but rather a movie that took inspiration from the beloved painter’s sweet personality, iconic curly hair and stunning artistic choices and turned them into something organic. 

Other notable comedy actors make terrific appearances in the movie as well. Wendi McLendon-Covey, who plays Wendy, and Michaela Watkins, who plays Katherine, are powerful additions to the cast and excel with their line deliveries as well as generally enhancing Wilson’s performance, which was already strong on its own. It was easy to forget that behind the fluffy curls, and the retro outfits, was Wilson. 

Renée, most known for her Broadway performances, proves her on-screen acting ability by wonderfully portraying the frustratingly talented Ambrosia. Her and Wilson’s on-screen chemistry enhanced many scenes and their comedic value. One of the funniest scenes in the film is where the two of them are going head-to-head in an on-air painting challenge, and their bickering back and forth felt very organic and genuinely funny. 

Ultimately, “Paint” is an enjoyable movie that will pull at heartstrings and make you root for the underdog. And because all comedy is subjective, some may find the movie to be incredibly funny, however, it’s important to note that compared to other comedy movies not just in Wilson’s own filmography, but also in the movie world, “Paint” isn’t comparable. Going into this movie with the understanding of it being a coming-of-age film rather than a comedy, may make your experience and enjoyment of the film stronger. 

Follow Brooklyn on Twitter @bleighton12

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About the Contributor
Brooklyn Leighton
Brooklyn Leighton, Opinion Editor | she/her
Brooklyn is a junior English major with a concentration in creative writing and a minor in journalism from Falmouth, Massachusetts. When she isn’t writing poetry and prose, she is listening to Taylor Swift, watching Marvel movies, or reading. She loves cats, baking, history and spending time with her friends. After graduation, she plans on becoming an author and literary agent. 

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Owen Wilson ‘paints’ a powerful performance