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Volume 71, Issue 154, Thursday, July 27, 2006

Life & Arts

'Strangers' dishes out sub par film candy


Comedy Central's acclaimed series Strangers With Candy made its theatrical debut in Houston on a single silver screen at the River Oaks on West Gray. 

Strangers With Candy is the story of Jerri Blank (Amy Sedaris), a prodigal daughter who after 32 years of a life of vice returns home to find her father in a coma. 

Through the advice of Dr. Putney (Ian Holm), Jerri decides to restart her life from the time she left her home by returning to high school with the intention of making the grade so as to awaken her father out of a coma.

When read aloud it sounds like a dump truck full of lame, which this movie ended up being; however, this premise worked for the TV show. The series, which utilizes unique, off-beat humor, would’ve been more commercially successful during its television phase had it been on late night Adult Swim rather than Comedy Central.

‚ÄÇ‚ÄÇMost of the original actors from the TV show were present, such as Stephen Colbert (Chuck Noblet) and Greg Holliman (Principal Blackman), but it can also boast an extraordinary cornucopia of cameo roles from ‚Äî Academy Award-winner Philip Seymour Hoffman, Matthew Broderick and Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker, just to name a few. 

But from this off-base premise and random assortment of proven talent comes a pretty terrible movie. 

Paul Dinello, who plays an art teacher and the homosexual love interest of Stephen Colbert, attempted the directing duties and failed miserably. 

It can be very difficult to achieve an overall vision when the director himself is one of the main actors in the film. 

‚ÄÇ‚ÄÇQuestionable shot selections, awkward un-funny moments and some directional departure from the original series plagued the film. 

‚ÄÇ‚ÄÇWhether this stems from production inexperience, having a low budget or a bad cinematographer, at times, the movie was unpleasant to look at. 

‚ÄÇ‚ÄÇEven with the occasional star appearance, the only actor who allowed anyone to induce at least one of the total two out-loud chuckles throughout the entire film was Colbert. 

His performance was the best overall, and the movie itself would’ve been funnier had it been just about him.

Sedaris didn‚Äôt bring anything new or all that funny to the screen. She probably performed the best female role in the movie, but that‚Äôs not saying much as the entire film is based around her character. 

It‚Äôs a shame to see such an interesting idea, with great actors who have shown excellent chemistry before, fall short on the grand screen. It‚Äôs not the first time this has happened and certainly not the last, but the worst part is that it‚Äôs probably the final hurrah for the eclectic characters of Strangers With Candy. 

Follow this advice: Go to the video store and rent the first season of the TV series on DVD. Make your own judgment on the show. Then you too can cry a little inside knowing what kind of movie Strangers With Candy could’ve been.

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