In the feature debut of writer/director Leon Pierce Jr.’s Welcome Matt we are reintroduced to child actor Tahj Mowry (Full House, Smart Guy) but this time as a broken down filmmaker trying to form his newest project while also dealing with a debilitating phobia. The film falls into the slacker comedy vibe akin to films such as Dazed and Confused and Clerks; the latter of which is referred to as well as its sequel in Clerks II. The film plays as a constant montage of different situations Matt (Mowry) is going through with a series of offbeat characters as he is faced with making serious changes in his life.
Matt is a sympathetic character to get behind because of Mowry’s ability to still be able to connect through his performance. Matt is a very delicate person that can be played on either end of the spectrum from light hearted/funny to being a completely unsociable degenerate but regardless of his attitude we’re always behind him. The film is filled with different people in Matt’s life from his girlfriend, mother, and therapist along with a few others that each have their own quirks and stories similar to Four Rooms. Pierce Jr. is able to weave in and out of these stories quite easily but it is the overall story being told that lacks any real punch. The strongest part of the film came towards the end between Matt and his mother where Mowry poured out so much emotion that it deserved more. The film plays as a comedy with the overlapping story of Matt needing to decide what his new project will be but along with dealing with his pushy landlord, love interest with his therapist and dealing with his cheating girlfriend there were too many elements to keep steady at once.
The overall message of Mowry overcoming his agoraphobia would have connected better minus some of the subplots. Another highlight worth mentioning was the role of Norman, played by Deon Cole (Black*ish), who provided both a comical and sentimental ally in Matt’s corner. Although the film weaves in and out it is noteworthy simply based on seeing Mowry on screen again and having a few laughs watching Matt’s “recovery” process.
2 out of 5
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