As a long time fan of Amy Sedaris and her Comedy Central television show Strangers With Candy, the film was awaited with intense anticipation. Expectations were high. Curiosity was flaming.
The film is a “prequel” to Jerri Blank's life as teen runaway and “a boozer, a user and a looooooooooser”. I fantasized about the “prequel” portraying Sedaris's alter ego, Jerri Blank, throughout her thirty two debased years of drug use, homelessness, bisexuality, prostitution and jail time.
The film does serve a purpose for those new to Blank's constant debaucheries. Subsequent to her release from jail, Jerri returns home to find her mother has died, her father in a self induced coma, a new step mother and step brother. She then becomes feverishly driven to bring her father out of this coma by becoming the daughter she never was and change her dirty ways.
Jerri enrolls as a high school freshman and attempts to excel academically, while coveting popularity, believing this will pull her daddy out of his coma.
The star studded menagerie of characters at Flatpoint High, the school serving as the setting for the film, is a brew of television show originators and new comers. The movie was produced by Letterman's production company World Wide Pants.
Stephen Colbert plays the closeted homosexual science teacher, Mr. Knoblet, who physically and mentally abuses his students, while preaching Christianity. Paul Dinello plays the earthy art teacher, Mr. Jellyneck, also a closet homosexual, heartbroken that Colbert has ended their secret relationsip. Colbert and Dinello, along with Sedaris originate from the original television cast. (The trio also wrote the Comedy Central show).
Matthew Broderick plays the outsourced science teacher, who may or may not be a closet homosexual. His performance is trite and heavy-handed, and his character was vapid, while his wife, Sarah Jessica Parker was equally a disappointment as Flatpoint High's grief counselor. Will she ever stop being Carrie Bradshaw? I would have liked to see the grief counselor in a more bookish, librarian get-up with some glasses, rather than Sarah Jessica holding a martini in the teacher's lounge the same way Carrie Bradshaw did at Bungalow 8 (and wearing the same dress). Perhaps it would have been slightly better if she had been smoking a cigarette as she counseled Jerri about her father's coma situation, like Janene Garafolo did in the show.
Phillip Seymour Hoffman was adorable, as usual, as a member of the Board of Education, jealous of Principle Blackman's sexual affair with another Board of Education Member, Allison Janney. Justin Theroux's brief appearance is comical as the driver education instructor, with his pleated Dockers pulled up to his nipples.
As the film's core demographic, I was not at all disappointed with the film and laughed out loud throughout (as did most of the audience), but I wanted and expected more. The film played out like a new episode of Strangers With Candy, which could have been entitled, “Science Project”. When your favorite show goes to the big screen, you assume that the producers intend to provide more than just a longer running time.
This film is not for anyone offended by brazenly politically incorrect material as it is heavily peppered with utter inappropriateness, blatant racism and crude sexuality