There’s no disputing that Nebraska is a huge critical favorite and a likely Best Picture contender. But now that it’s opened in New York and L.A. do any HE regulars have a problem with what I feel is a ludicrous plot device — i.e., Bruce Dern‘s Woody believing (or having willed himself into believing) that he’s won a million bucks from Publisher’s Clearing House, an outfit so laughably disreputable that it was used as the butt of a joke in Fletch, the 1985 Chevy Chase comedy?

Does anyone else believe, as Bloomberg’s Greg Evans wrote last Friday, that “anywhere else but in this movie, Woody’s quest would evidence a high level of dementia” and that Dern’s son, played by Will Forte, “could clear up all misunderstandings by producing the ludicrous [PCH] certificate, but that would pop the bubble that Nebraska so coyly blows”?

On top of which, as I wrote last May, “not one of the in-laws and old friends of Woody’s who hear about his having won a million bucks from Publisher’s Clearing House…not one of them of them raises an eyebrow or smells the faint whiff of bullshit or asks about any particulars? All they want to do is talk to Woody about him paying them money that he owes them? If a friend of mine to whom I’d lent money had told me he’s expecting to come into a lot of cash from the tooth fairy, my first reaction wouldn’t be ‘oh, great — now you can pay me back.’ My first reaction would be ‘the tooth fairy?'”

Rope of Silicon‘s Brad Brevet felt as I did when he posted his review from Cannes. Nebraska is obviously a refined, well-made film, but it’s very caught up in — and accepting of — small, snarly, scowling mentalities that don’t seem to open the door to anything all that endearing or affecting. Except for that one moment between Woody and his son in the pickup truck at the very end.