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'The Wendell Baker Story'

An episodic comedy from the brothers Wilson (Luke, Owen, and Andrew) where the parts are more amusing than the whole. This loser-makes-good story can't decide whether it wants to be a romance, a con-man flick, or a feisty-old-coots comedy, so it settles for being each for a while and then losing interest. It starts by introducing the laid-back title slacker (Luke Wilson), a small-time dreamer who regards himself as a venture capitalist because he sells fake driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants. A stint in the state pen and the loss of a gorgeous girlfriend (Eva Mendes) turns him into — oh, it doesn't really matter. Suffice it to say that Will Ferrell and Owen Wilson enliven their bits as Wendell's romantic and career obstacles, respectively, and Kris Kristofferson, Seymour Cassel and Harry Dean Stanton hold down the loveable-coot concession handily. The film's been kicking around at festivals for a couple of years now, and it has its champions. If you're in a particularly lackadaisical frame of mind, you might be one.

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Bob Mondello, who jokes that he was a jinx at the beginning of his critical career — hired to write for every small paper that ever folded in Washington, just as it was about to collapse — saw that jinx broken in 1984 when he came to NPR.