Strangers With Candy (R)

Comedy 97 June 28, 2006
By Jim Ridley
Ramshackle but frequently hilarious, Strangers With Candy is an origin story -- the tender tale of how a 46-year-old crack-whore ex-con went from chasing cell-block bitches to joining the student body of Flatpoint High. Like the short-lived Comedy Central series of the same name, it's a love-it-or-hate-it affair because of its star, Amy Sedaris, whose Lucille Ball-on-crystal-meth persona amounts to a litmus test. Screechy and clingy, possessed of utterly unwarranted sex-bomb bravado, Sedaris's Jerri Blank is the square peg from which the movie hangs. Either you find her scrunched-up expressions, crack-baby attention span, and malignant libido a skin-crawling hoot, or you recoil as from a prom corsage of poison ivy. The many star cameos range from iffy but game (Allison Janney and Philip Seymour Hoffman) to seamless (the five finest minutes of Sarah Jessica Parker's career), with Ian Holm's deadpan doctor perhaps the brightest left-field surprise. The biggest laughs come from co-writer/co-star Stephen Colbert, whose shakily born-again science teacher has more than Bunsen burners in the closet.
Paul Dinello Amy Sedaris, Paul Dinello, Stephen Colbert, Maria Thayer, Carlo Alban, Greg Hollimon, Ian Holm, Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick Stephen Colbert, Paul Dinello Mark Roberts, Lorena David, Valerie Schaer Nathanson ThinkFilm

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