What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that while this indie coming-of-age drama about an obese 15-year-old boy is sometimes disturbing, it's ultimately thought provoking and good-hearted. That said, there's plenty of strong stuff here, particularly a scene in which a teen boy sexually touches a teen girl under a desk in class after bullying her into the situation. No details are shown, but the act is unmistakable. There's also a scene in which three teens take prescription pills and drink whiskey. Language is infrequent but strong, with uses of "f--k," "s--t," "c--k," "t-ts," and "p---y." And animal lovers should beware: There are several dead mice on view, plus a shot of a bird eating one of them. For older teens who can handle this intense content, the movie offers a worthwhile message: The main character manages to find friends on his own terms, without having to force himself to fit in -- a powerful example for teens who don't feel part of the mainstream themselves.
What's the story?
Overweight teen Terri (Jacob Wysocki of TV's Huge) lives alone with his sick uncle (Creed Bratton). Wearing pajamas to school every day, Terri accepts his position as an outcast. But things begin to change when the cheerful principal (John C. Reilly) calls Terri into his office and sets up a weekly "check-in" meeting. After a few hurdles, Terri begins to trust and look up to the principal. During this time, he also meets a fellow outcast, troublemaker Chad (Bridger Zadina). He even manages to befriend pretty Heather (Olivia Crocicchia) after an unfortunate classroom incident brands her a pariah. But will ever-unpredictable Chad throw a monkey wrench into Terri's life?
Is it any good?
A great deal rides on Wysocki's intuitive performance; he has a remarkable combination of strength, gentleness, and honesty that belies his sad-sack appearance. When one girl flirts with him and calls him a teddy bear, we can believe it. Likewise, comic character actor Reilly turns in a slightly deeper, more touching version of his usual positive-thinking goofball. This band of strong, fascinating characters overcomes the otherwise awkward combination of script elements.
The son of legendary New York experimental filmmaker Ken Jacobs (Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son), TERRI director Azazel Jacobs arrived on the movie scene in 2008. His first film, Momma's Man, was an exercise in the cinema of discomfort, but at the same time had a traditionally goopy Hollywood wrap-up. Terri treads the same path, but, lo and behold, after a while, these characters begin to show some integrity; they spring to life and find a truthful emotional connection.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how the movie handles sex. How are sexual relationships between teens portrayed? What message does the in-class encounter between Heather and the boy send?
How does the movie depict teen drinking? Why does Chad bring alcohol to Terri's house, and why do Terri and Heather decide to drink?
Is the principal a positive role model? Can someone be flawed and still be a good role model?
|Theatrical release date:||July 1, 2011|
|DVD/Streaming release date:||October 11, 2011|
|Cast:||Jacob Wysocki, John C. Reilly, Olivia Crocicchia|
|Run time:||105 minutes|
|MPAA explanation:||sexual content, language and some drug and alcohol use - all involving teens|