Kazakh TV talking head Borat is dispatched to the United States to report on the greatest country in the world. With a documentary crew in tow, Borat becomes more interested in locating and marrying Pamela Anderson.
Forty-seven year old Jerri Blank is a socially unaware ex-con junkie alcoholic prostitute. After being released from her latest stint behind bars, Jerri wants to clean up her life and decides the best way to do so is to go home, where she left thirty-two years earlier when she began her depraved life. She arrives home to find that her mother has died, her father has remarried a much younger woman, and her father fell into a stress induced coma in part because she disappeared. She takes that cleaning up her life one step further when Dr. Putney, her father's doctor, tells her that he may emerge from his coma if life were to return to the way it was before she left, but better as she has to make her father proud. So she decides to go back to her old high school, Flatpoint, to get her high school diploma. She quickly decides the best way to be the best student possible is to participate in and win the state science fair. In her quest, she gets caught up in the competing agendas of: ... Written by
Snowball 37, the band whose logo appears on apparel worn by characters in the movie, is an actual touring band, made up of three members of the infamous Fagan family, who appear as students in the movie, and all but one episode of the TV series. The name of the band is a reference to a very well know conversation from Kevin Smith's Clerks.. See more »
Amy Sedaris' Borat-Level Transformation Only Goes So Far in a Fitfully Funny Comedy
What remains remarkable in the translation from Comedy Central TV show to mainstream feature film is Amy Sedaris' complete lack of vanity in replaying her comic alter-ego, the aptly named Jerri Blank, a 47-year old ex-con who decides to return home after a lengthy prison term and finish high school. The original concept for the three-season cult series was a fun idea full of possibilities, satirizing the high-minded seriousness of the ABC Afternoon Specials in the 1970's by having the hapless Jerri learn some significant life lesson after going through some humiliating situation. Probably a disappointment to dedicated fans of the show, the 2006 movie is really no different except the paper-thin plot feels dragged out to its eighty-minute length (wisely cut from its 97-minute length in theaters). It has the additional burden of feeling repetitive of the series without providing much more in the way of texture or complexity.
Director Paul Dinello (who plays effete art teacher Geoffrey Jellineck), along with co-writers Sedaris and Stephen Colbert (who plays closeted science teacher Chuck Noblet), uses the opportunity to fill in a bit of Jerri's back story in coming back to the family home and dealing with her father's comatose state. According to kindly Dr. Putney, the only cure lies with Jerri's efforts to do her father proud by winning the school science fair. Of course, the easily misdirected Jerri wants to be part of the in-crowd, in particular, getting horizontal with Brason, the school's hunky squat-and-thrust champion. This consequently means turning her back on her science project team, the Fig Neutrons, which includes Tammi, Jerri's best friend and object of Sapphic desire, and Megawatti, the Indonesian geek who has an unexplainable crush on Jerri. Lots of hijinks ensue until the inevitable conclusion, including the insertion of several star cameos - Allison Janney and Philip Seymour Hoffman as bickering school board members, Sarah Jessica Parker as self-absorbed grief counselor Peggy Callas, Ian Holm as Dr. Putney, Dan Hedaya as Jerri's comatose father; and Kristen Johnston as a wheelchair-bound coach. Matthew Broderick actually has a bigger role as Noblet's adversary, the preening Roger Beekman.
Much of the TV series cast is here as well with Colbert the standout as the blustery, uptight Chuck who secretly yearns for Geoffrey, who spurns him to be Roger's idea man. For most of the time, it is fitfully funny if only because the scabrous screenplay takes no prisoners in its approach. Consider this the comic flipside to "Sherrybaby" with plenty of familiar elements from "Carrie" and "Napoleon Dynamite" thrown in for good measure. But most of all, it is a tribute to Sedaris' Borat-like transformative skills as a comic actress. The 2006 DVD has a commentary track by Sedaris, Colbert and Dinello, and although they are obviously having a good time together, much of that rapport surprisingly does not translate well for the viewer. There are eighteen minutes worth of deleted scenes, most understandably excised though interestingly, it looks like Parker's counselor was the chief victim of the cuts. Also included are the theatrical trailer (another case of a promising trailer that's a lot funnier than the movie itself) and a music video for Delano Grove's "Atomic Car".
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