7 September 2005 | ScottDMenzel
A disappointing but decent movie based off the brilliant TV Series.
"Strangers with Candy" is basically a prequel to the television series. It tells the story of Jerri Blank (Amy Sedaris) the 46 year-old ex-junkie, ex-con who returns to high school to pick up right where she left off. During this she has to deal with her crazy science teacher Chuck Noblet (Stephen Colbert), the eccentric art teacher Geoffrey Jellineck (Paul Dinello) and Principal Blackman (Greg Holliman). On top of this she tries to fit which is hard to do but makes friends with Megawatti (Carlo Alban) & Tammi (Maria Thayer). Her friends and her enter a science fair and want to win so that Jerri's father (Dan Hedaya) can be proud and maybe awake from his coma.
Amy Sedaris is Jerri Blank. She play's the ex junkie/prostitute very well. I love the character in general because it's such a unique and weird character that hasn't been done before. My all time favorite character in the film and on the TV series is Geoffrey Jellineck played by Paul Dinello who is also the director of the film. The whole gay art teacher thing to me is very highly amusing and I love how upbeat his character is. It's without a doubt my favorite character on the show but isn't used enough in the movie. Also Stephen Colbert plays Chuck Noblet who is my second favorite character. What I like most about this character is that he is basically borderline insane and just yells and gets upset for no real reason. He also hides that he prefers men to woman even though he is married to a woman. Chuck is a very funny and interesting character. Moving on, it was good to see Greg Holliman back as Principal Blackman and Maria Thayer who plays Tammi Littlenut. Both where very essential characters to the original series and it was nice to see they brought them back for the film along with some of the other characters including Jerri's Mother (Deborah Rush), her mother's boyfriend Stew (David Pasquesi) and a few others.
However what I didn't like was the fact that they changed the dad and Orlando from the original series and in fact Orlando was left out completely. Instead we had Megawatti Sukharnabhoutri played by Carlo Alban who was like a cheap rip-off of Orlando. I didn't find this character very affective but it was OK. Also I would have to say they should have stuck with the original dad. I heard he wasn't an actor but Dan Hedaya didn't say really anything in this movie and didn't really act so I think they should have stuck with the original cast and if they couldn't get the original cast then leave the characters out. I would have rather of done without Orlando instead of dealing with some replacement with a different name but was pretty much the same character. Also the movie had a lot of special appearances by various celebrities including Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick, Ian Holm, and Philip Seymour Hoffman however each character was a pretty pointless.
The same three people who wrote the script for the television series wrote the script for the film and those are the three main cast members Amy Sedaris, Paul Dinello, and Steven Colbert. What I didn't like about the script was the fact that it was basically a tame version of the television show. This was their chance to make these crazy characters do wacky things that they could never get away with on TV. As far as the TV series vs. the movie itself well the TV series is much more edgy, creative and bold. The script had too much of the original episodes written in and when it came to adding new content most of the new content didn't work like the whole science fair thing. That didn't really work for me. Or Matthew Broderick's character, he was a total waste of time. Don't get me wrong some of the script was good but as since it was a TV series first the writing on the series was a lot better and raw. The movie will most likely get an R rating so why not be bold and do things with the characters that Comedy Central won't allow on the air. Also another big complaint is the fact that script didn't have enough of Mr. Jellineck and Mr. Noblet. I really enjoy those characters but they didn't play that big of role and I think they should have been involved more. Like I said I love the characters in the film for the most part, the original characters are fun and quite enjoyable however most new characters were rather dull and pointless. The movie needed to have more conflict then it did, the plot was based too much on this science fair and that didn't go over well. Also some jokes didn't work which is odd since most jokes on the series always work very well maybe it's because most are rehashed from the TV series.
In Conclusion, I liked the "Strangers with Candy" however I think the television show was better because it had better writing, better jokes, and was bolder and took chances. "Strangers with Candy" the movie was a bit disappointing because I am such a huge fan of the series and it's wasn't bold enough and I thought in general the film held back to much. I really wanted to give this film a 9 out of 10 and I am dead serious that is how high my hopes were for the film. However, the movie isn't that great but the movie is still definitely worth seeing and since it isn't out till fall, I am sure some issues will be corrected. I would recommend it; it's worth the price alone for the wacky characters.
MovieManMenzel's final rating for the "Strangers With Candy" is a 7 out of 10. Not as good as the television series but definitely still worth looking at.