Movie Review: “Terri”

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“Terri” is a character dramedy about a depressed, morbidly obese high school boy who wears his pajamas to school “because they’re comfortable.”

That’s a sure sign that Terri (Jacob Wysocki) has given up. But he’s depressed with good reason. His parents are nowhere to be found. He takes care of his heavily-medicated uncle, lives in a rundown house in the woods and faces school each day with a mix of dread and disconnection. Yes, the kids pick on him — pinch him, call him “Double D,” in reference to his man-breasts. No, he won’t participate in phys-ed class.

Then he runs afoul of Assistant Principal Fitzgerald, given another winning, winsome and w0rld weary turn by the great John C. Reilly. Fitzgerald appears to take an interest in the kid, playing the role of “cool” administrator to problem students. He calls Terri “Dude,” says he sees his “good heart.” Terri is won over, until he sees the other members of this special tribe who meet with Fitzgerald before classes — for pep talks, disciplinary lectures, etc. Just another way for Terri to not feel special, one high school  “monster” among many.

Terri tries to befriend the creepy/skinny rebel Chad (Bridger Zadina, amusingly annoying) and the pretty, possibly troubled girl (Olivia Crocicchia, a bit off) Terri saves from expulsion from school.

Does his life change, or theirs? Was this very stiff turn by Wysocki (of TV’s “Huge”) directed and scripted that way, or simply all he’s capable of?

It’s a movie of thematic dead-ends. Director Azazel Jacobs and writer Patrick DeWitt give us a  a slow SLOW and somewhat morose tale that isn’t remotely funny or profound enough to sustain that pace and tone.  The odd life-lesson about how valuable “I’m sorry” is, and the pretense of acting as if you care about anybody other than yourself is too little to hang even this downbeat comedy (a few solid laughs) on.

“Terri” has one leaving the theater thinking “And?”

MPAA Rating: R for sexual content, language and some drug and alcohol use – all involving teens

Cast: Jacob Wysocki, John C. Reilly, Bridger Zadina

Credits: Directed by Azazel Jacobs, written by Patrick DeWitt and Azazel Jacobs. Running time: 1:45

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