Review: Starring Owen Wilson as a local PBS legend, ‘PAINT’ is not a stroke of genius.


Carl Nargle is a Bob Ross-like local icon with an exceptional sexual pull for his viewers and staff, but his old-school misogyny and pride rub those close to him the wrong way. Newcomer Ambrosia takes the hour after Carl when he refuses to boost ratings by extending the show. Ambrosia’s popularity skyrockets with her quirky paintings. PAINT becomes a battle of personalities and a search for personal redemption. 

The cast makes PAINT watchable. Stephen Root and Wendi McLendon-Covey are ensemble highlights. Ciara Renée plays Ambrosia with cool confidence. She is a smart foil for Wilson. Michaela Watkins plays Katherine, Nargle’s producer and ex-lover. Watkins displays a down-to-earth vibe. Her warmth is endearing, and her coping mechanism for rejection is relatable and funny. Owen Wilson brings his iconic vocal stylings to Carl. The character is more complex than at first glance. Underneath the fame is a lack of SF esteem and regret. Wilson does his best to save the script.

The pace perfectly mirrors the setting of a PBS station in Burlington, Vermont. The dry humor will hit or miss with audiences. It plays like a Christopher Guest film without the mockumentary structure. It pokes fun at the art industry in a tangible and blunt way. In the end, PAINT is an unexpected love story. If you can rock with the vibe, good for you. If not, it’s a bit like watching paint dry.

Release date: April 7, 2023 (USA)
Director: Brit McAdams
Producers: Sam MaydewPeter Brant
Distributed by: IFC Films
Music by: Lyle Workman

About Liz Whittemore

Liz grew up in northern Connecticut and was memorizing movie dialogue from Shirley Temple to A Nightmare on Elm Street at a very early age. She will watch just about any film all the way through (no matter how bad) just to prove a point. A loyal New Englander, a lover of Hollywood, and true inhabitant of The Big Apple.

Leave a Reply