The Wendell Baker Story

Critics Consensus

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



Total Count: 42


Audience Score

User Ratings: 16,329
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The Wendell Baker Story Photos

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.


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
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News & Interviews for The Wendell Baker Story

Critic Reviews for The Wendell Baker Story

All Critics (42) | Top Critics (19) | Fresh (17) | Rotten (25)

  • 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.

    Jun 8, 2007 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • 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
  • Here's something satisfying: '70s-cinema fetishism with the courage of its convictions.

    May 19, 2007 | Rating: 4/6 | Full Review…

    Mark Holcomb

    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.

    May 18, 2007 | Rating: 2.5/4

    Claudia Puig

    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.

    May 18, 2007 | Rating: 3/4
  • 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.

    May 18, 2007 | Rating: 2.5/4

Audience Reviews for The Wendell Baker Story

  • Jul 06, 2009
    Don't get all pissed off cause I am about to say" rock"!~
    Joseph E Super Reviewer
  • Jan 05, 2008
    The cast in this movie is probably one of my favorite casts I've seen in awhile. Luke, and Owen Wilson star alongside Eddie Griffin, and Eva Mendes. However there are three supporting actors who steal the show, no surprise why they stole every scene they were in becasue they are three of the best actors of all time, Kris Kristofferson, Seymour Cassel, and the great Harry Dean Stanton. I really enjoyed the movie funny and different, just one of those smaller indie movies that come along every once in awhile and surprise the hell outta you.
    Jason R Super Reviewer
  • Nov 07, 2007
    Thoroughly amiable effort by the Wilson clan.
    William G Super Reviewer
  • Sep 16, 2007
    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

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