Wilder Napalm Reviews
The story is as old as the hills boy meets girl, girl finds out boy can make fire with his mind as can his brother. Love triangle cliche activate.
This film is charming, devilishly clever and perhaps most importantly a delightful to watch with a quick even tempered paced. Bookend of course with singing firemen!
Anyway. Wilder Foudroyant is not a happy man. He lives in a trailer park with his lovely wife, Vida, who is under house arrest for arson. He works in a photo hut in the parking lot of a larger store. One day, as he is hard at work, a carnival rolls into town. He's already having problems with the carnies when their clown steps out of his trailer. It's Biff the Clown, also known as Wallace Foudroyant. He and Wilder have an unpleasant relationship, ever since Wallace burned Wilder's hair off at Wilder's bachelor party. Because that's the thing about the Foudroyant boys--they're pyrokinetics.
I suppose it's part of the joke that the more staid brother is the one named Wilder. However, ever since he and Wallace accidentally burned a man to death when they were children, Wilder has been hesitant to use his powers, while Wallace makes his living at it. He has been a homebody, while Wallace travels from town to town with the carnival. On the other hand, he got Vida, who Wallace wanted, too. He's also a member of the town's suprisingly tuneful volunteer fire department. Wallace may be more adventurous than Wilder, but I would wager you that Wilder is happier. Not truly happy--no one who works in a photo hut can be truly happy--but happier than Wallace, who doesn't seem to have gotten what he wanted out of life, either.
It's a basically silly movie, though it does have one or two worthwhile things to say about family and happiness. However, it's not really much beyond that. The music's not bad, but it's often too loud. Vida appears to be wearing the same dress throughout, and it's not until she actually changes clothes at one point that it becomes apparent that she just wears a lot of similar clothes. Arliss Howard gives a subtler performance than the over-the-top Quaid, but it just makes it seem as though neither of them entirely belongs in the movie. And I like those firemen, but they do feel a little tacked on, just one more wacky thing in a wacky movie. It just feels as though it's a little forced, that's all.
Once again, I must go back to "we've seen worse." You'll notice I am giving this a (marginally) positive review, after all. I don't think it's really good enough for a higher review, but I do think it's pretty enjoyable. It seems like one of my mom's summer movies--funny movies without much story to slow you down with thought. The fights are funny; the scene in the jail is both funny and heartrending all at once, if you've gotten to care at all about Wilder. It's a testament to this movie that I did.
I don't know if this film was shelved or if it simply didn't catch on with people or find an audience, but this is a fantastic romantic comedy with brilliant acting and stunning cinematography. The writer and director of this film are both underrated geniuses...