Monday, July 11, 2011
"Terri" is another festival hit that I have had on my radar and finally made its way to a theater near me. The story comes from writer/director Azazel Jacobs who was listed as one of the top 10 writer/directors to watch in 2008 off the heels of another festival favorite, "Momma's Man" (2008). I haven't seen anything from him prior to "Terri", but I can see why he is so highly regarded.
"Terri" is a film starring Jacob Wysocki in the title role as an overweight high school boy that is the lovable loser. The school principal, Mr. Fitzgerald (John C. Reilly) is the authority figure that reaches out to Terri. There is a feel of "Napoleon Dynamite" (2004) meets "the Breakfast Club" (1985) with the collection of classmates that Mr. Fitzgerald mentors which includes Chad (Bridger Zadina) who pulls his hair out and Heather (Olivia Crocicchia) who is desperately seeking the attention of others.
The home life for Terri isn't any easier as he lives with his Uncle (Creed Bratton from "The Office") who has dementia. With the added responsibility of looking after his Uncle, and chores around the house, skipping school and ignoring his class work gets the attention of Mr. Fitzgerald. The story picks up when Terri saves Heather from expulsion and the two of them find a common connection. Eventually the two of them have a rather awkward date at Terri's house that is crashed by Chad who has his own perverted ideas. Chad brings a bottle of alcohol and steals some pills from Terri's uncle and you can only imagine where these teens will proceed from there.
The performance from Jacob Wysocki is as honest as I have seen in quite some time. The expressions on his face combined with his physical performance provide just enough comedy to keep the audience entertained. The characters are well developed, but the story suddenly stops without a proper final act. I very much liked this movie and wanted to give it a better rating, but the lack of a better ending really detracted from what could have been a brilliant film. So 3 Quacks and a strong recommendation will have to be enough.
(screening date 7/11/11, release date LIMITED, location E Street Cinema)