Here’s an unlikely equation for an icon: Publicly crash out of professional tennis, fall in love with your (adopted) sister, move into a tent in your childhood home, and ensconce yourself in a camel hair coat. That, of course, is a description of Richie Tenenbaum. At a distance of nearly a decade—yes it’s been that long—Richie is seared into our memory, at once recognizable and esteemed.
Richie retains his decency even in the face of one of the classic paternal putdowns: ‘Why’d you choke out there that day, Baumer?’ Our sympathy to Richie extends to Luke Wilson, whose portrait is understated and affecting.
So it is with great regret that we confront the new spectacle of Mr. Wilson as a televised corporate shill. He is not promoting Brooks Brothers sport coats, alas, merely a modest telecommunications giant. Worse, the actor who did more for the headband than anyone since Bjorn Borg is adorned in, of all things, business casual attire. For a nationwide campaign that is doubtless a highly calculated act of non-offensiveness. For those of us who fondly remember the house on Archer Avenue, it’s a rough sight.
The man who memorably said ‘I’ve never been so depressed in my life,’ is now discussing coverage maps for a network that is as unreliable as one of Raleigh St. Clair’s patients. We don’t begrudge anyone their moment in the commercial sun. Like everything it’s a question of execution. If Wilson wants a master class in the convergence of style and commerce, he need look no further than a credit card ad from a few years ago. It stars and is directed by somebody quite familiar with all matters Tenenbaum: Wes Anderson himself. —DAVID COGGINS