The only TV shows I watch make fun of TV, and “Strangers with Candy” is one of them. A parody of 1980s “after school specials,” when it comes to tone, acting, music, and camera work, the “Strangers with Candy” TV show follows a 40-year-old ex-hooker (heavily made-up Amy Sedaris) who moves back in with her parents determined to finally graduate high school. That she’s a dirty-minded idiot and ex-junkie goes without saying, that she’s a latent lesbian is a plus, and that she has Stephen Colbert as a teacher is grand. (I also like his show.) Like all truly funny people, Colbert never lets on that he knows he’s funny, but rather plays the part of the booming jackass in complete deadpan. One of the best things about “The Colbert Report” is how he will willfully misunderstand very simple ideas.
But, like many sketch-style comedies drawn to feature-length, the movie’s technical credits are questionable and, more importantly, it doesn’t know what to do with a feature-length runtime or 16:9 framing. Jokes that would work in the quick, shallow world of 30-minute television are too slow and only smirk-worthy when dwarfed by the depth of 90 minutes of film. The movie retains much of the show’s spirit and has some good laughs, but you’d still be better off watching three episodes back-to-back. Funny cameos include Philip Seymour Hoffman and Justin Theroux.
Finished Sunday, February 25th, 2007
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