Thursday, June 22, 2006

Strangers with Candy

Strangers with Candy, the television series, had a fanatic following, but was ultimately pulled by Comedy Central, so they went out and made a movie version as a prequel to the series. The main character, Jerri Blank, has been in and out of prison for three decades. She finally gets out at age 46 and returns home to find her father in a coma, with her stepmother hovering over him, waiting for him to die. The doctor tells her that she might be able to snap her father out of his coma by doing something really amazing, so she resolves to return to high school and pick up where she left off. She blends in with her new classmates, even though they are more than young enough to be her children. She must learn how to deal with the popular kids, the nerds, and of course the freaky teachers. Of particular note are Stephen Colbert as the science teacher and Paul Dinello as the art teacher, winding their way through closeness and jealousy in the wake of interloper Matthew Broderick.

I actually wasn't much of a fan of the TV series. It had some very funny moments, but too many "remind me why I'm bothering to watch this" moments. The movie, though, was engaging from beginning to end, and gave the main character a much better feeling of context. Highly recommended. Opens in theatres in July 2006; in NYC 2006-06-28.

Strangers with Candy, dir. Paul Dinello, 2004 USA, 97 min., starring Amy Sedaris, Stephen Colbert, and Paul Dinello

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