John C. Reilly is a majorly underappreciated talent who is surprisingly diverse in his role-picking, but the poor son of a gun slipped up big time with "Step Brothers", not because it's a bad film, but when you're hanging out with Will Ferrell, the ultimate man child, good luck breaking out of that routine. Well, sure enough, as excellent as an actor as this guy is, he's stuck playing baby sitter, and if he's not that, as "Walk Hard" showed us, he has to assume the manchild role, and that's a shame, because although he's good in both roles, somebody better give this guy some room to stretch, and next time, maybe you could do it in a movie that people have actually heard of. I don't know why I said "next time", because even here, he's going the extra mile in the manchild caretaker role, actually taking care of a child that's clearly a man; not much of one, but a man, nevertheless. Speaking of which, as much as I talk way too much about John C. Reilly, the real star of the show is Jacob Wysocki. ...Yeah, I don't know him either, so let's talk more about John C. Reilly. No, this isn't like the last John Reilly indie film about a big fat guy who's name is the title, where the main focus really was Reilly, which is probably why this film isn't as good. No, the film isn't bad, and Reilly's playing second banana certainly isn't doing much to pull the film down, which isn't to say that there's still not a couple of things that are pulling the film down.
Now, I know that plenty of indie films of this type are known to have long periods of simply nothing, but here, I don't know if I can say that the film does nothing, because I don't exactly understand how "nothing" can get repetative. Well, eitherway, what little that does actually happen in this film is likely to happen again later on down the road, which further pads out a film already overdrawn by loose editing enough. I mean, Terri doesn't even confront John Reilly's character, Mr. Fitzgerald, until 15 minute-wait, it was only 15 minutes in. Funny, it felt like close to 40 minutes, because not only is the film padded out and rather dull in tone, but the pacing is slow, maybe not to a "Munich" degree, but still enough so that it only slows the momentum of the film down even more. Outside of that, there's really nothing terribly distinctive about this film, as it falls into so many convention of films of its type, and if it doesn't, it makes little effort to transcend and add to the genre. It's a film that doesn't stand a terribly great chance at being mediocre, let alone bad, but neither does it stand as worthy of high praise, Roger Ebert. However, no matter how much this film descends into the conventional attributes and flaws of its genre, films of this type are unendiably respectable, and this film is no exception, because for misstep, it picks itself back up almost - nay - "entirely" because of the human aspects.
Films of this type are notoriously realistic, and although this film hits the occasional point where it's a touch more exaggerated than usual, this film is still pretty down-to-earth. I'm really digging on the portrayal of the teenagers in this film, because it shows us the kind of stupid, nasy, immature little plagues on humanity most of them are. No, but seriously though, the film has a mostly realist view on its characters, exploring the depths in the humanity of every individual in a fashion that's familiar, but still effective, and what liberties they do take in reality still manage to fit and serve the story, not letting you forget that this is not only a study on the behavior of people like this, but a study on the life of an individual that serves as more than just an audience avatar. Of course, the person who really sells both his individuality and avatar status is our lead, Jacob Wysocki, who isn't giving a particularly powerful performance, but has enough charm and humanity in his presence to keep the film afloat. The same can be said about John C. Reilly, who may be playing John C. Reilly, but nobody does it better, and sure enough, his electric charm makes every moment with him - limited though, those moments may be - really enjoyable, partially because when he is on, Wysocki right there by his side, helping to create some firecracker chemistry. Wysocki has chemistry with just about everyone in the film, and it really adds to the human element, but that humanity is at its most energized during the handful of moments shared by Reilly and Wysocki, and everytime they're on screen together, the film really livens up. Those and a good deal of other moments in the film are charming, genuine and likeable enough to make the film worth the watch - nay - the enjoyment, because although there's nothing terribly impacting about the film, it's still an ultimately awarding experience.
Overall, loosely-edited sequences and some repetition exacerbate a dull tone, while the slow pacing exacerbates "every" flaw, and there's just not enough uniqueness in the film to raise it above that, but what makes it ultimately rewarding, nevertheless, is the genuine and often realistic writing that is translated charmingly by our leads, particularly Jacob Wysocki and John C. Reilly, both of whom deliver electric chemistry that really picks the film up whenever it falls, which isn't to say that there aren't enough highs, otherwise, that ultimately make "Terri" a generally enjoyable portrait on the problems faced by the sensitive youth. Granted, seeing as these are teenagers we're talking about, these aren't "real" problems, and if they are, it's the fault of the stupid kids, but hey, the film's still pretty decent anyways.
2.5/5 - Fair