Owen Wilson Is A Cynical Bob Ross Clone In This Thinly Sketched Comedy

As “Paint” begins, Carl appears on top of the world. Everyone is enchanted with the soft-spoken, pipe-smoking painter. His staff adores him and caters to his every whim. And his viewers — everyone from old folks in nursing homes to tough guys sitting at bars — watch him paint with quiet awe. But Carl’s soon in for a rude awakening. He’s not the only painter in town when the station hires Ambrosia (Ciara Renée), who might just be a better painter than Carl. She’s certainly a more interesting painter — instead of painting the same old mountain over and over again, she paints things like flying saucers. And the viewers love her. Seemingly overnight Carl goes from the hottest thing on public TV to a nobody.

There are shadows of “Anchorman” here — a man working in TV suddenly threatened by the presence of a woman doing his job, and doing it potentially better. But this, like everything else in the movie, is only faintly brushed up against. What keeps “Paint” from giving us a clearer picture is the fact that it’s not entirely apparent how we’re meant to feel about Carl. Do we like this guy? Hate him? It’s all too vague to muster up much of an opinion one way or another. 

“Paint” almost gets by on its shaggy dog charm mostly thanks to Wilson, who remains loveable enough to guide us through this world. But the comedy is flat and the drama is dry, and none of it adds up to a pretty picture. If you want my advice, you can feel free to skip “Paint” and watch old Bob Ross videos on YouTube instead. It’ll be more rewarding.

/Film Rating: 5 out of 10

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