Strangers With Candy

Showing at Varsity, Fri., July 7–Thurs., July 13. Rated R. 85 minutes.

At least we'll always have Arrested Development to treasure on DVD without worrying someone will extend the joke—that is, kill it—with a feature treatment. But that's exactly what Amy Sedaris has done with her Comedy Central series, all three seasons of which you can enjoy (or not) at home on video, without subjecting yourself to this consistently unfunny expansion of her original premise. Which was, if die-hard fans truly need to be reminded, her 47-year-old druggie/wastrel character returning to high school after 32 years of hard living in an effort to turn her life around (and possibly that of her comatose father, as well). Will he notice her efforts to win the science fair and rise from his slumber? Alas, the numbing absence of laughter here would put him back to sleep.

We've seen these sketches before, so it's hard to understand why they need retelling by Sedaris and her original castmates, director Paul Dinello and Stephen Colbert (who we hear is doing quite nicely for himself these days—with a new act). They both play gay teachers, Sedaris bonds with the lunchroom pariahs, and the hateful norms of high school are supposedly lampooned. You can keep yourself entertained, slightly, by counting the celebrity cameos (Philip Seymour Hoffman, Allison Janney, Justin Theroux, Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick, etc.), although they're hard to spot in the remarkably dark lighting and cheap sets. Sedaris was right, originally, to see something comical in the waste case presented as cautionary example—the reprobate deluding herself about the possibility of reform. But even those who enjoyed her show will recognize here that it didn't need a second chance.

 
comments powered by Disqus