Feature

Strangers With Candy

A 47-year-old loser tries to make a clean start by going back to high school.

Jerri Blank has a 'œlazy eye and a lazier work ethic,' said Chris Hewitt in the St. Paul, Minn., Pioneer Press. The 47-year-old former hooker, alcoholic, and drug addict has spent her life in and out of prison. But when she returns home to find her father in a coma, she decides to start again where she left off—in high school—and determines that winning the science fair is just the cure her father needs. Amy Sedaris is 'œone of the world's funniest women,' and just seeing her twist her rubbery face into the 'œex-con's chipmunky visage' provokes laughter. But she also imbues the criminal Jerri with 'œa naked desire to belong that also makes her lovable.' The best thing about the film 'œis its relentlessness,' said Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle. It never attempts to make sense of its ridiculous humor or soft-pedal its characters. Jerri's grotesque unpalatability was the central conceit of the Comedy Central TV series that ran for a couple of years and attracted a cult following, said Desson Thomas in The Washington Post. But it may not be enough to fill out a movie. In fleshing out the story of Jerri's life, the writers have dulled the show's 'œjagged satire.' Ironically, it occasionally strays in the direction of the after-school specials it parodies; 'œyou'll catch it trying to make you feel warm and fuzzy.'

Rating: R

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