There’s a giant gap in McAdams’ directorial debut the place our compassion for Carl needs to be. Carl is caught at the start of “Paint” and finds himself repeatedly portray the identical landmark of Mt. Mansfield (certainly one of many ongoing jokes that will be funnier with higher pacing). Such inventive stasis makes approach for a weak subplot a few alternative—a youthful painter named Ambrosia (Ciara Renée) who follows his time slot and may fill two full canvases in a single hour, versus Carl’s one. Ambrosia turns into the station’s hero, rendering the egotistical Carl into outdated information. A private disaster brews inside Carl, and a contest on the station begins. All of a sudden his boss (Stephen Root) isn’t his champion anymore, however one other particular person attempting to push him out the door tactfully.
As “Paint” strikes on from one airless sequence to the subsequent, the annoying downside of Carl being an unamusing jerk is supplanted by different frustrations. Right here’s a man who has made a profession out of portray for public entry—in fashionable occasions, someway, thoughts you—and in addition has borderline inappropriate relationships together with his feminine co-workers. The swooning ladies behind the digicam need to be his muse, and we see how straightforward it’s for him to get them into his orange van (with a foldout mattress inside) or on a date. That’s a giant joke that this film desires to toss into the combination, however “Paint” merely presents it, because it does so many different of its chintzy aspects. That is coupled with a extra honest story that doesn’t match—Carl’s eager for Katherine (Michaela Watkins), who as soon as had a deeper relationship with him till one thing trashed it. We’re undecided how precisely the film desires us to really feel about all of this, nevertheless it feels awkward and never humorous.
The world-building in “Paint” is about difficult the wholesomeness of what makes a Bob Ross—the general public broadcasting station that will make his soothing paint tutorial exhibits a phenomenon, the little city he would turn into a celeb in, and the innocence with which he introduced himself. However the movie distances itself from sharper predecessors like Mike Decide (“Extract”) with its dangerous gags and weak wordplay. One of many studio workers (Lucy Freyer’s Jenna) desires to get with Carl, however he’s hesitant, and Wilson performs him as far too naive in moments wherein she’s firing out innuendos at a fondue dinner. He finally ends up force-feeding her meat, despite the fact that she’s a vegan. She does it for the date regardless of it making her really feel sick, solely to dash to the lavatory later. It’s an eye-rolling sequence, nevertheless it’s one-upped by a flashback wherein co-worker Wendy (Wendi McLendon-Covey) talks to Carl over a transistor radio, all so this film could make this joke throughout a break-up: “Are we over-over, over?” A movie that was higher with cheesy jokes would have killed that, nevertheless it’s too apparent right here inside a clunky setup.