Available on Amazon Prime
Home Video Release: July 25, 2023
The gentle country melodies of John Denver highlights Paint more than Owen Wilson playing Carl Nargle, a character which looks like Bob Ross, behaves like Bob Ross, but isn’t Bob Ross. That’s because writer/director Brit McAdams probably didn’t get the okay from his estate to make a telling biography. The real Ross found his passion for painting while in the military and the conflict he had with the instructors there helped shape his craft. And just where Carl found his isn’t fully revealed.
What this filmmaker reworked into a story can’t even be considered remotely close to a parody of the man. Although Wilson is the perfect choice because he nearly has the same cander as the painter, to be typecast can be bad. Even though he plays a similarly loosey goosey priest in Disney’s Haunted Mansion (review coming soon), I find he’s at his best when being serious. I particularly liked him as Mobius in Marvel’s Loki over everything he’s collectively done in his career.
Also, when considering I followed both The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross and The Magic of Oil Painting with Bill Alexander when I was young, what I remember from those programs and being in legitimate art classes at college is to express some sense of originality in your work instead of reproducing something from sight alone. Without the sound and other elements in place, even imagined, the people looking at your artwork won’t necessarily understand. That’s why mise-en-scène is particularly important in the visual arts.
Some artists opt to convey that sense of what they feel when experiencing nature first hand and others (in the modern sense) adapt into a piece of Cubist art for example. It’s less about what you’re applying to the canvas. Instead, it’s the intention. Part of this film gets the importance of what is art right, and as for where Nargle’s experience is as a broad spectrum visual artist, he’s struggling. Although this movie presents him as a relic, a person lost and devoid of focus/creativity, there’s more to him than meets the eye.
Sure, he’s a womaniser, but for Katherine (Michaela Watkins), she hopes he’ll finally stop smelling that turpentine. She wants him to awaken from that stupor he’s been in for a long time and believes he’s not aware of her feelings for him. In that regard, few people realise Paint is more of a romantic comedy than anything else. We’re all waiting for him change his behaviour and say that magic word to her.
And as for his skeletons, this film could’ve done more to reveal what he’s hiding. I didn’t get a good sense of when he was at a career high. He’s always expressed his craft on television. As for his rival, Ambrosia (Ciara Renée), that conflict seems to materialise in spurts than be consistent for the remainder of the second act to the story climax. Although what we learn about him holding back is surface level, I’m sure once all the layers of crusty paint covering who he was gets scraped away, we’d find a proper representation of who he wants to be.
Although Mcadams didn’t get to make the movie he hoped for, what he presented is still modestly amusing. We just have remember his film is not about an imaginary version of Bob Ross. Instead, it’s about a man unable to let his fears go. Once he’s able to, he can be the next Monet. While it’s said that every picture is worth a thousand words, sometimes one word to the wise is enough to carry this person forward, and that is love.
3 Stars out of 5