Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with another look at the STRANGERS WITH CANDY. It seems this flick is getting fairly lukewarm reviews... out of Sundance we didn't get many reviews and the few we got were disappointed. This review is slightly more positive, but it seems the film is still rough around the edges. Who knows? Maybe the filmmakers will get one more shot at trimming the film to perfection?
I had the fortune of seeing the work print screener for the Strangers With Candy movie last night at the Arclight in Los Angeles. Let me start off by saying that I'm a huge SWC fan, from the premiere episode on Comedy Central in April 1999 to it's sad end in October 2000. SWC was the best show on television for three seasons, and no I'm not a studio plant, as the talk backer's would probably suggest. Also, I hate spoilers, so this is a spoiler free review.
For those who don't know the show, Jerri Blank is a 46 year-old high school high school freshman. She ran away from home 32 years ago, was a "boozer, a user, and a loser." Now's she's back in school (Flatpoint High), living at home, and making the wrong decisions the right way. The show starred Amy Sedaris, Stephen Colbert and Paul Dinello (also directed the movie).
The SWC movie is the prequel to the show and there are some positive changes from the show such as we finally get to see Jerri Blank interacting in prison in the opening scene, and fans are also are treated to Jerri meeting her step-mom (Sara Blank) and her step-fag (Derrick Blank). That's the good stuff, however a lot of the actors from the show are replaced. Jerri's father (Roberto Gari) is re-placed with Dan Hedaya (Terrific in Blood Simple) and her step-brother is replaced with Joseph Cross (not familiar with his other work), Orlando isn't even in the movie.
Since the show ended nearly five years ago and everyone is older I shouldn't be bitching, but fuck why replace Derrick (Larc Spies)? At least the original Stew the meat man and Tammy Littlenut are present. Also the movie crams in wat too many star cameos, like Sarah Jessica Parker, for no reason. I mean Sarah Jessica, Jesus, she's actually uglier than Jerri Blank.
Basically, the movie centers around Jerri attempting the show her father (he's been in a coma for 32 years) that she's still his "little girl" and can make the honor role, that may spark him out of the coma. Jerri and her "new best friends" from science class enter the Science Fair Project. This ties into Onyx Blackman (the principle) needing a student to display decent grades in order to save Flatpoint High. Chuck Noblet (Colbert) and Geoffrey Jellineck (Dinello) must learn to work apart after a hilarious breakup. I said it would be spoiler free.
The pacing of the film was a tad slow and I feel that Paul Dinello wasn't the best choice to direct the movie. Yeah, he helped create the show, but a lot of the shots he chose were distracting, also the middle was rather flat and the end missed out on some big laughs. Hopefully the film can be trimmed and decent music could be put in. Overall, the movie was good, had some killer moments like the dinner table scene, but no where near as great as the show and I'm a SWC fanboy.
If you use this, please call me Boner #5.