A prequel to the critically-acclaimed series featuring Jerri Blank, a 46-year-old ex-junkie ex-con who returns to high school in a bid to restart her life.A prequel to the critically-acclaimed series featuring Jerri Blank, a 46-year-old ex-junkie ex-con who returns to high school in a bid to restart her life.A prequel to the critically-acclaimed series featuring Jerri Blank, a 46-year-old ex-junkie ex-con who returns to high school in a bid to restart her life.
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".
- Feb 2, 2007