Wednesday, July 12, 2006

"I want your spermees."

June 29, 2006

I saw the "Strangers with Candy" movie nearly two months ago, but since it's finally opening in NYC today (expanding throughout the country over the next few weeks), I thought I might as well share my take on it.To give you some background, "Strangers with Candy"-- the brilliant Comedy Central series-- is one of my favorite shows of all time, and I have each season on DVD. The hilarious series, a broad, politically incorrect satire of afterschool specials, would often shock you into laughter and had a higher rate of absurdity and offensive one-lines than any show on the air. Creators Amy Sedaris (who starred as Jerri Blank, an ex-junkie, ex-prostitute 46-year-old high school freshman), Stephen Colbert and Paul Dinello (closeted homosexual teachers/lover Chuck Noblet and Joffrey Jellineck) made "Strangers" the funniest show on the early-stages-version of Comedy Central, and forever left its mark on comedy. For some of the best "SWC" quotes, check out

Ever since David Letterman's company Worldwide Pants announced four years ago they'd be producing a film version of "Strangers," I've been eagerly awaiting the end results. Then it screened at Sundance, and reaction was muted. Warner Independent reluctantly acquired the movie, and then dropped it. Now, two years later, ThinkFilm picked up the movie and it has finally hit theaters. The "SWC" serves as a prequel to the television series, showing Jerri right out of prison and beginning her new life. There's just no getting around it: "Strangers with Candy" is a disappointment. It's the best kind of disappointment-- one that's still entertaining and funny-- but a disappointment nonetheless.

The first 30 minutes of "Strangers" are on par with anything in the series and some of the funniest in any movie this year-- then the laughs really begin to taper off as the film spends too much time on its "story." It's still funny, and contains some big laughs, but they're few and far between, not nearly as consistent as the first half hour. I even found myself getting bored here and there.

The celebrity cameos occasionally work wonders and help matters for the most part. Matthew Broderick is pretty funny as an ex-lover of Noblet, and Philip Seymour Hoffman is wasted at first, but his part is redeemed by his screaming of the word "whore" late in the film. As entertaining as they are, they do feel a bit tacked on-- the one cameo that feels perfectly at home in the "Strangers" world and made me chortle till I was embarrassed, was Sarah Jessica Parker as the school's grief counselor.

Sedaris, Colbert and Dinello are just at home in the parts as they were on the show, though Colbert steals every scene he's in. Sedaris however has such a plethora of comedic gifts, that I couldn't help but be amused by everything she did, no matter how stupid. There's a scene where Jerri repeatedly tries to toss a kernel of popcorn in the air and land it in her mouth and continues to fail. Idiotic, yes. But in it's repetition and due to Sedaris's willingness to embarrass herself, it's one of the funniest scenes in the movie.

"Strangers with Candy" may be a disappointment to fans of the show like myself, but it still offers more laughs and more quotable lines (like this journal entry's title) than anything out there right now.


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