The Wendell Baker Story (2005) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Wendell Baker Story (2005)



Critic Consensus: The Wendell Baker Story is a lackadaisical comedy of quirky characters and situations, but ultimately the lazy narrative bores instead of charms.

Movie Info

Owen, Luke, and Andrew Wilson combine their fraternal filmmaking talents to tell the character-driven tale of a small-time con man who gets a fortuitous shot at redemption while working in a run down retirement community. Wendell Baker (Luke Wilson) is a con man whose large heart betrays his criminal mind. Confident to a fault and consistently cool-headed, Baker is the kind of grifter who's always quick with a comeback and never lets the law get in the way of making a quick buck. When Wendell is busted for selling counterfeit Texas driver's licenses to undocumented Mexican migrant workers, he coasts through his prison sentence with the same unflappable attitude that made him the perfect swindler in the outside world. In order to pass the time behind bars without causing waves, mellow convict Wendell buries his nose in books about hotel management checked out from the prison library. Upon release the optimistic ex-con is distraught to discover his girlfriend Dorren (Eva Mendes) has taken up with a quick-tempered grocer (Will Ferrell) and his former partner Reyes (Jacob Vargas) has been forced into retirement by his law-abiding wife. Looking to put his hotel management know-how to good use and determined to win Doreen back, Wendell soon takes a job at the Shady Grove retirement hotel. Little does Wendell realize that scheming Shady Grove head nurse Neil King (Owen Wilson) has been dabbling in fraudulent Medicare payments and forced labor, and has no qualms about pinning his crimes on the carefree ex-convict. Now, if benevolent knave Wendell has any hope of turning the tables on his unscrupulous nemesis and proving that nice guys don't always finish last, he'll have to enlist the aid of fed-up Shady Grove residents Boyd (Seymour Cassel), Skip (Harry Dean Stanton), and Nasher (Kris Kristofferson), who are all more than willing to strike back at their casually cruel caretaker.more
Rating: PG-13 (for some crude and sexual humor and language)
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Directed By: ,
Written By: Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 30, 2007
Box Office: $48.1k
ThinkFilm - Official Site


Luke Wilson
as Wendell Baker
Eva Mendes
as Doreen
Owen Wilson
as Neil King
Eddie Griffin
as McTeague
Jo Harvey Allen
as Wanda King
Buck Taylor
as Bob Draper
Billy Joe Shaver
as Reverend Shackleton
Randy Stripling
as Mr. Montoya
Robert Musgrave
as Motorcycle Cop
Jacob Vargas
as Reyes Morales
Seymour Cassel
as Boyd Fullbright
Richard Jones
as Dr. Von Horn
Marco Perella
as Investigator
Harry Dean Stanton
as Skip Summers
Kris Kristofferson
as L.R. Nasher
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Wendell Baker Story

Critic Reviews for The Wendell Baker Story

All Critics (45) | Top Critics (20)

Given Luke Wilson's affability, it's also irresistibly charming. You may not buy the film's plot, but you'll invest in him as a man whose heart is always in the right place.

Full Review… | June 8, 2007
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

I think it's one of the worst movies of the year. I think it's one of the worst movies I've ever seen.

May 21, 2007
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic

Here's something satisfying: '70s-cinema fetishism with the courage of its convictions.

Full Review… | May 19, 2007
Time Out
Top Critic

Though the first Wilson brothers' effort, Bottle Rocket, is far superior, the trio of brothers working together creates a light and enjoyable comic romp.

Full Review… | May 18, 2007
USA Today
Top Critic

Wendell Baker isn't perfect. The slacker humor grows cloying at times. Still, there's an undeniable charm to the Texas tale as it celebrates nonconformity and redemption.

Full Review… | May 18, 2007
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic

Though the Wilsons are no threat to the Coens as filmmakers, The Wendell Baker Story is still a pleasingly human-scaled alternative to the big, soulless Hollywood blockbusters.

Full Review… | May 18, 2007
New York Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Wendell Baker Story

I was UNlucky enough to catch this pile of dreck in a small, independant theatre. Easily one of the years worst films!

Michael S

Super Reviewer

Don't get all pissed off cause I am about to say" rock"!~

Joseph Eastmond

Super Reviewer


Luke Wilson tried-thats the best I can say-Owen had nothing to do, neither did Eva- and Will did what he could. Eddie Griffin was kind of pointless and even though it looked cheap and straight out of the 90's- I give the other wilson the benefit of the doubt in believeing he wanted it that way. There are a few good quotes worth remembering and Luke does throw himself into the character-I guess I just expected more.

Philip Price
Philip Price

Super Reviewer

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