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CRACKED Reviews: Strangers With Candy

Beginning in 1999, Strangers With Candy was Comedy Central' first stab at a live-action non-skit show. Twisted and lewd as all hell, the series followed fugly baby boomer Jerri Blank (Amy Sedaris) as she tried to re-live an adolescence that was previously wasted away on drugs and unprotected sex. If you're unfamiliar with Ms. Blank' back-story, here' a quote of her reminiscing:

"Stoney and I would go over to Buckle's, and Puff would turn us on to a hot load of mescaline crumbled into a tumbler of ether with a float of Percocet jimmies. I'd wake up with blood on my ass, and then we'd get high. Those were some good times."

Cut to 2006: The show' been canceled for five years, and once cast member Stephen Colbert is the new hot shit of Comedy Central. And seemingly out of nowhere, a movie prequel surfaces that' just as funny as the show was. The snag: it will probably draw the same meager, cultish audience. If only the film had some star power, then it'd certainly make some waves. What' that you say, Mr. Press Packet? It' got Oscar winner Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Horsy-faced Gap shill Sarah Jessica Parker? Matthew Broderick, too? Well, shit, son. Does this celeb-fest have a plot?

Yes, and it' as gloriously simple and frivolous as the after school specials Strangers parodies. Things kick off with Jerri returning home to find out her dad' been in a coma since she ran away thirty-two years ago. She reasons that if she turns her life around, he'll spring back into consciousness out of pride. So Jerri enrolls as a high school freshman and starts her teenage years over again-in the throes of menopause, of course.

At Flatpoint High, Jerri comes across some of the same characters she did when she was on cable. There' Chuck Noblet (Colbert) and Mr. Jellineck, the two gay teachers who have a rocky relationship together. Noblet is under pressure from Principal Onyx Blackman to put up a good showing at the irrationally important science fair. This is because Blackman is being urged to improve the school' miserable image by a Board of Education goon (Hoffman). Wary of Noblet' chances of success, Blackman hires a ringer, science education guru Roger Beekman (Broderick), to lead a competing group. The joke lies in the absurd levels of importance heaped on these kids' worthless tin can inventions. Jerri knows that winning the fair will lead to redemption and, yes, she struggles with morality issues and her own self-esteem in the process.

But there' so much more: drugs, awkward sexual advances, the teachers' sauna and one proud Indonesian who shares his name with that country' former president. The world of Strangers evokes that "Why Does Mommy Drink?" video they made you watch in school. The adults-see Jerri' icy step mom-are ruthless and stupid; and the kids will do most anything to get in good with the popular crew. And there' forty-seven-year-old Jerri running through the halls comparing her vagina to everything under the sun. Directed by Paul Dinello-who plays Mr. Jellineck-Strangers is a must-see for anyone who liked the short-lived TV series and/or respects a middle-aged lady who demands three fingers.

Strangers With Candy will be coming to a theater near you in July.
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