I wanted to like Strangers with Candy so much. It seems so like something I'd enjoy. It's got Amy Sedaris. It's got Stephen Colbert. The supporting cast is beefy, including Ian Holm, Allison Janney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker (those two probably car-pooled). It's an absurd story. Yet somehow things just didn't come together for me.
Here's how it goes: Jerri Blank (Sedaris) is released from prison and comes home to find her father in a coma, likely caused by Jerri's evil ways (Jerri was a junkie prostitute runaway). Somehow she gets the idea that if she picks up where she left off 32 years before, she might be able to jar him from his slumber. She moves back in and re-enrolls in high school. All she's gotta do is win the science fair for the school, and glory will be hers. That should pop Daddy right out of that coma. Makes perfect sense, no? Well, of course, it's not supposed to.
I won't give away the thrilling details for you, but I will tell you that the whole film plays like a sitcom allowed to run on too long. There are some genuinely funny bits in it. When Jerri is invited to a get-together of the Alpha crowd and takes her shoes off at the door, you can hear her toenails clicking on the marble as she walks across the entryway. Another funny thread involves science teacher Chuck Noblet (Stephen Colbert) and his latent homosexuality. "I wasn't pushing you away, I was pulling me toward myself" he said to his jilted lover, Geoffrey Jellineck (Paul Dinello). Good stuff for sure, but it doesn't add up to a good movie.
Strangers with Candy is the prequel to the TV series of the same name. It could be that I'm missing all the inside jokes having never watched the show, but the film should let new viewers in on the joke if that's the case.
Extra features include feature commentary by Sedaris, Colbert and Dinello, deleted scenes and the trailer. I didn't bother with the commentary, and the deleted scenes didn't add much to the experience. It wouldn't have hurt them to delete more.
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