5.5/10
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27 user 31 critic

The Wendell Baker Story (2005)

Luke Wilson plays a good-hearted ex-con who gets a job in a retirement hotel. Three elderly residents help him win back his girlfriend as he lends them a hand in fighting hotel corruption.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Reyes Morales
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L.R. Nasher
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Dave
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Irma (as Angela Alvarado Rosa)
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Wanda King
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Bob Draper
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Reverend Shackelton
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May
Nicole Swahn ...
Lucy
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Storyline

Near the Texas-Mexico border, Wendell Baker has a few things going for him: his genial nature and optimism and the love of Doreen. His troubles? He dances around telling her that he loves her, and his idea of work is illegal. He's arrested, imprisoned, and she puts him behind her when she realizes that even prison is just a good excuse for him to play football with the guys. When he is paroled, it's to a job in the "hotel industry" at a board and care home for seniors, where the head nurse is running a scam. Three of the residents respond to Wendell's good heart. Can they expose the scam and help Wendell win back Doreen? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Why not call him a hero?

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some crude and sexual humor and language | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

3 August 2005 (Belgium)  »

Also Known As:

A Wendell Baker balhé  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$48,120 (USA) (20 May 2007)

Gross:

$127,144 (USA) (8 July 2007)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Luke Wilson hired his mother, a professional photographer, to take stills on the set. When Mrs. Wilson saw that photographer Mark Seliger was also taking stills she demanded that Seliger be fired. Instead, Luke fired his mother. According to Luke, the crew was unhappy about this and brother Andrew Wilson rehired Mrs. Wilson. See more »

Quotes

Neil King: [Neil is spoofing Wendell Baker in front of McTeague] "Thank you very much for this job. It's my first job in the hotel buisness
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Connections

Features Jerry Springer (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

I'll Keep It with Mine
Written and Performed by Bob Dylan
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By Arrangement with Sony BMG Music Licensing
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User Reviews

a good laugh and an easy watch
13 March 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Wendell Baker Story will never be listed as movie classic. It will not score at acting awards, and it does have a profound message. That said, it manages to entertain, make us laugh and smile, and provide through enjoyment without insulting our intelligence, and without resorting to endless car chases, fire crashes, or silly special effects.

What we have here is old-fashioned movie entertainment – solid acting, an engaging story, and all of the basics done solidly: costuming, direction, lighting, editing, and, especially, music.

Both Luke and Owen Wilson are more than competent in their respective roles as a light-weight con man and a conspiring old home administrator/head nurse. Indeed, I saw a little more acting talent here than in Owen Wilson's other recent attempts, such as Behind Enemy Lines.

While Owen and Luke's name may be at the head of the credits (along with their brother Andrew, who is the film's Director), the best performances come from Harry Dean Stanton and Seymour Cassell, who play playful, but sincere and believable residents of the old age home where Luke Wilson's character works, and which Owen Wilson's character runs. Alas, the same cannot be said for the legend Kris Kristofferson, whose roll comes off as predictable and trite, with the same artificial "I am wise and serene" facial expression done far too many times.

The story is easy enough. Wendell Baker (Luke Wilson) spends his time scheming his next (read first) fortune, planning all kinds of shady and illegal schemes. Baker and his friend (played by Jacob Vargas) get caught providing fake Texas identifications to illegal immigrant farm workers. He ends up in a federal jail in Texas, where he gets along well and does not seem to miss his girlfriend, played by Eva Mendes.

Baker is eventually paroled, and ordered to work at a "retirement hotel." While little happens at the retirement place, Baker does not learn of an ongoing to scheme to ship seniors to Oklahoma, so that the administrators can collect their pension checks and sell their medicines on the black market. OK, so it is not Shakespeare. It is light, it moves at a good pace, and Wendell becomes more and more liked by the audience.

If one looks, there are messages to be had. We are reminded that senior citizens have passions and sex drives, that the people pouring across the border from Mexico largely just want to work and get by, and that all of us deserve a second chance. Bets of all, we learn this by being happily entertained by a fun, easy-going movie.


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