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Strange "Strangers with Candy"

Posted at 1:52 PM on July 7, 2006 by Euan Kerr

As a public radio denizens we are almost honor-bound to stand and salute any time anyone invokes the name Sedaris. Thus "Strangers with Candy" the new film starring Amy Sedaris naturally attracted the attention of the Movie Natters community.

"Strangers" is a prequel to a Comedy Central series about a reformed junkie-prostitute-ex-con Jerri Blank (Sedaris in one of her famed fat suits.) The film follows Jerri's departure from jail and her attempt to revive her father from a coma by returning to high school. So perhaps it's the Comedy Central denizens who should be adopting the salute.

"Strangers with Candy" is a mishmash of bad taste comedy which happens to feature a host of cameos by some pretty big stars. It would be interesting to hear from Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ian Holm, and Mathew Broderick as to why they decided to join this project. It could be because they were attracted by the combined script writing chops of the other three stars, Sedaris, Stephen Colbert, and Paul Dinello.

The resulting film, while watchable, is uneven. There are moments of brilliance (the gym scene for example,) and the guest stars pull their weight, but much of the satire falls flat, being a little to close to the real horrors of the high school experience to be funny.

Jerri Blank is an anti-hero living in a world of obnoxious authority figures and not-so-lovable losers. Any time she generates some sympathy she quickly follows up with some inane stupidity which undermines whatever good she has wrought.

The fans of the series will love this movie, it's more of a challenge for the rest of us.

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