"Life-Long Ne’er-Do-Well Makes Good"
What You Need To Know:
THE WENDELL BAKER STORY is a feel-good movie with some funny moments and some touching moments, but it is completely predictable. There are also some cautionary elements such as the movie’s anti-American and pro-politically correct elements of illegal immigration. There is also plenty of foul language and some sexual content, including a couple elderly men making inappropriate comments to teenage girls. That said, the movie’s premise is morally uplifting since the protagonist learns a few lessons about the importance of becoming more responsible and caring for others.
(Pa, BB, AP, PC, C, Cap, Ro, H, LLL, V, S, N, D, AA, M) Mostly mixed pagan worldview with some strong moral elements as life-long slacker/ex-con learns lessons about the importance of caring for others, mixed with some politically correct, humanist and anti-patriotic elements as man makes fake I.D. cards for illegal immigrants in Texas, this includes some comments about the current political views on immigration reform and one comment that “Mexico is what the U.S. could’ve been,” very brief Christian elements at a wake when man states that the woman who has passed away is now “in a better place” and another man makes reference in an obituary that a friend has been “called home by the Lord,” plus some pro-capitalist, Romantic and humanist elements; 22 mostly light obscenities and 14 profanities, also several substitute words such as, “darn,” and one man makes crude gestures at another man; very light violence includes Wendell is punched by a father who thinks his son is being molested (although Wendell is only lifting the boy up so he can reach the urinal), another man punches Wendell, and an older woman shoots a shotgun at Wendell in a very comedic chase scene; sexual content includes some unmarried kissing, in a dream Wendell’s girlfriend is seen lying in bed beside another man, two old men solicit younger women that we later learn are underage, and those same underage women are used to set the villains up to be caught by the police; nudity includes some naturalistic upper male nudity, one man shown in boxer shorts and some female cleavage; alcohol use includes people taking shots of hard liquor as well as some scenes of beer drinking; some cigarette use and Wendell smokes cheap cigars in several scenes; and, miscellaneous immorality includes a head nurse (Owen Wilson) who illegally “takes a cut” of his patient’s MediCare checks and sells their prescription medicines on the black market and several scenes of men urinating including little boy who urinates on Wendell’s shoe.
THE WENDELL BAKER STORY follows an ex-con and life-long slacker, Wendell, played by Luke Wilson, who gets a job in a “retirement hotel.” Wendell becomes the hero of the hotel’s elderly patrons when he brings the villainous head nurse, played by Owen Wilson, to justice; all while winning back the girl of his dreams, played by Eva Mendes.
Calling himself a venture capitalist, Wendell has lived his life moving from one con-artist scheme to the next. His ventures come to a crashing halt, though, when he is caught and convicted for creating fake I.D. cards and selling them to illegal immigrants. Sentenced to the State Penitentiary, Wendell, the good-old boy, makes fast friends with everyone in the prison except the parole board. That is okay by him, though, because he is having the time of his life in prison, until of course, his girlfriend, Doreen, says she can’t wait for him forever. This knocks Wendell back down to reality.
Soon, he focuses on finding a direction for his life and becomes intrigued by the hotel industry. As time passes, Wendell makes some important changes in the way he runs his life. Not long after, he is released on parole, and the parole board gets him a job working in an elderly retirement hotel in Texas.
In no time at all, Wendell learns that all is not as it seems at this hotel, as the corrupt head nurse, along with all the other nurses, are illegally taking Medicare money from their patrons as well as selling their prescription medications on the black market. Along with several of the hotel’s patrons, Wendell devises a scheme that will bring down the corrupt nursing team. Through all of this and whether or not he ever wins back Doreen, Wendell learns the importance of helping others as he grows and matures and finds focus for his life.
THE WENDELL BAKER STORY is a feel-good movie with some funny moments and touching, morally uplifting elements, but it is completely predictable. Even with a short running time of 99 minutes, most audience members probably will find themselves looking at their watch wondering how much longer the movie will last.
There are also some cautionary elements such as the movie’s anti-American and pro-politically correct elements of illegal immigration. There is also some sexual content that provides cautionary elements, most notably of which are the two elderly gentlemen who sexually solicit two young women (who we later learn are underage) with some rather graphic dialogue that is incredibly inappropriate, especially for young teenage women!
All in all, THE WENDELL BAKER STORY is predictable fare for a small independent feature. The predictability, coupled with the sexual content and a lot of the movie’s profanities, means that most media-wise people will avoid this movie and go see one of the summer’s bigger blockbusters that has stronger Christian content and is cleaner.