For most of us high school was a time when we felt our lowest. We sat by watching everyone participate in the normalcy of society; outcasts among a sea of pep. Our exteriors the core of our unhappiness, could the mirror be any more vicious then these supposed “peers?” So many movies have showcased this idea and we can now add Azazel Jacobs’ Terri to the mix. A small indie film that won over Sundance that stars an overweight teen dealing with life, his medicated uncle, a counselor who just wants to connect and a couple of teens who have their own insecurities to think about.
Terri focuses on not only the outsider ways of teens, but the impact it has on adults as well. Speaking of, the adults in this movie are renowned for being funny men on screen, so it was interesting to see how well John C. Reilly (Stepbrothers) and Creed Bratton (The Office) played “Mr. Serious” throughout, but never fear, they will make you chuckle at times. And while the movie had heart and a message, the ending kind of throws you a curve ball.
Leading man Jacob Wysocki (Huge) takes on the role of Terri with ease and comfort. Only wearing pajamas on a daily basis as he braves the halls of high school, he finds himself in Vice Principal Fitztgerald’s (Reilly) office after he is caught skipping school to watch birds pick apart mice his Uncle James (Bratton) made him catch in the attic. Fitztgerald quickly takes a special notice in Terri, and they have a healthy back and forth during the story, but Terri soon finds out the truth about which kids his Vice Principal shows interest in. One of them being Chad, (Bridger Zadina), an odd child who’s one step from going off the edge as he finds solace in pulling out his own hair. Terri and Chad are “special” friends of the Vice Principal’s waiting room, while Terri and Heather’s (Olivia Crocicchia) friendship grows from a different garden. Once Heather is deemed the school slut, Terri is the only one who seems to get it and with the exchange of under the desk notes, a bond is born.
While Terri is one of those movies I love for its “outsider” essence, there were some things I wish they’d done different. Terri and Fitzgerald are the main duo of the film, but I wanted to see more of the relationship between Terri, Chad and Heather played out more. They all became friends too far into the movie that it was kind of like, “oh yeah, we’re weird and no one gets us” and that was it.
And with that, I have to say the ending was just okay. Prior to the credits rolling you have the outcast trio involved in a night of stolen drunken ways, borrowed pills and awkward sexuality…Only to leave you with more questions than answers.
Terri is a film that shows the side of high school, life, that is reality for almost everyone. It’s not a movie meant to make you laugh, but it has its moments because even in real life, when things are serious we can’t help but smile. The cast of veteran comics and young talents binds together to make Terri one of those films that you stumble upon and then want to pass along. And yes, the ending left me in a daze, but isn’t that the case with life? Touché Terri, touché.
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