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Terri
BLU-RAY disk
Oct 24, 2011 By: J.A. Hamilton
Terri order download
Director:
Azazel Jacobs

Actors:
Jacob Wysocki
Creed Bratton
John C. Reilly

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
An overweight, socially awkward kid starts to see things a little differently at school when the quirky vice principle suddenly takes an interest in him and tries to help him overcome his fears and imperfections and have a little fun.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
A lot of these Sundance "hits" are a mixed bag. I really enjoyed WINTER'S BONE and FLIPPED, the latter being a different but more upbeat approach to lessons learned early in our youth from family issues to young love, whereas I was unimpressed with WENDY AND LUCY and here as well with TERRI. I won't say this is a terrible film because it certainly isn't, but for a supposed comedy this flick falls flat on its face. I may have grinned at the awkwardness or ridiculousness of certain situations, but for the most part the issues involved here are no laughing matter. In actuality, this film is quite sad by all definitions of the word.

I guess I feel sorry for these actors they find to play fumbling overweight "losers". Jaxob Wysocki does what he can with the role and does it well, but is that enough? I can't help but feel that a kid like him knows firsthand what it's like to go through this sort of ordeal as kids these days are just as brutal as they ever were toward outsiders if not more so. I felt the same way about Gabourey Sidibi from PRECIOUS. These actors are selected to play a certain type of role, one that's deemed negative or even pathetic, yet it feels like a double edged sword because of their resemblance to these characters in real life, which I couldn't help but take as an insult if I were them. However, beyond all that, both characters in both films are supposed to make us feel sympathetic, yet I can't bring myself to sympathise, in this case especially.

Terri's a good kid, there's no disputing that, he's also a nice guy and there's no better candidate for "nice guys finish last" like this kid. But c'mon people, how can a kid expect to not be an outsider or stand out and get picked on when he wears freaking pyjamas to school! My heart does go out to him for taking care of his uncle, but I think they dropped the ball a little with that end of things. When Terri's asked about his parents and his living situation in general, he simply replies that he doesn't know. I can't help but think that if sympathy is what they were going for here, it certainly would've helped the situation had they elaborated just a little. "I don't know" felt a bit like a cop-out.

TERRI is far from the feel good film the back of the box implies. John C. Reilly does his best to part the storm clouds with his overzealous vice principle character and for my money, the scenes with him and Terri are the most memorable, yet still lacked something I can't quite put my finger on. Speaking of fingers, the sexual exploits involved and hinted at throughout the film are indeed accurate to the teen angst type situations found in Junior High and High school. My personal exploits were much different, but one thing that rings the same is that many an interesting situation presented itself when the parents went to sleep and the drugs and alcohol came out to play (I'll never forget the good 'ol dice game). Simply put, this is one of those films that creates a mixed vibe throughout and as the credits started to roll I found myself a bit confused as to how I was supposed to feel about everything I'd just seen.
THE EXTRAS
A Look Inside Terri: The writers try to express that Terri was inspired by about four separate characters to give him multiple layers and depth. Sadly, not many of these layers were explored in my opinion. They also say they wanted the story based in a familiar setting...as I'm sure everyone who uses a High School setting probably says.

Deleted Scenes: There are three scenes here, weighing in at roughly eight minutes. Two of them are heavy on the verbal brow beating of children so I can see why they were scrapped and the other deals with talk of funerals and nobody really wants to hear about funerals.

Previews: There are a couple of trailers that run before the feature.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Again, I have nothing against these types of independent films but they're either a good time or strike out and this one just didn't do much for me. Some kids have it hard in life, I get that, but no family is perfect and sometimes you just have to make due. I know this film is trying to teach life lessons but I'm afraid the true answers just aren't there.
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