But it's overall blandness over-powers what it is attempting...which is something much bigger than the script allows it to be.
Another no plot movie centering on an unusual overweight teen named Terri(Jacob Wysocki), which showcases how he goes through his routine life, as well as interacting with some of his peers. Co-written and directed by Azazel Jacobs, are going to have to expect the following:
-Terri who's living with his uncle (Creed Bratton) suffering from alzheimer's but is never mentioned. You kind of have to figure that out out for yourself.
- Terri starting to go to school while wearing his pajamas with only a few peers who actually talk to him, but 'does' eventually bond with a puny weird kid named Chad(Bridger Zadina) who enjoys picking his hair out of his head, and a female peer who suddenly became shut out from her friends.
- the unhealthy school secretary who is dying, but still continues to work who has no close family, relatives nor has any friends. There isn't even a teachers lounge room where the workers can go and gossip.
-That the school itself consists of zero sports athletes or computers, meaning that it may have been the world or the life created by the director himself, or a depiction of a particular time when sports activities and eating healthy is not a requirement.
-Terri starting to enjoy killing rats by setting up mouse traps, just so he can feed dead rat carcasses to a falcon or an eagle that comes around the his local forest area once in awhile. And doesn't know how to express that either showing zero emotion.
- That Terri's been given an excuse to leave class just so he can hang around with his principle played by John C. Relly as Mr. Fitzgerald.
And finally, despite the satisfying ending, viewers have to subject themselves to 90% of unusual scenarios as well as characters who majority of them act like walking stiffs.
Instead of calling it as 'Terri', a better title could've been 'the unexpected wacky and bizarre world of Terri's teenage childhood life' similar to Wes Anderson's world, or perhaps Todd Solondz.
2 out of 4 stars
Terri(Jacob Wisocki) is an unsociable, overweight teenager who is undergoing a hard time at school and at home. He doesn't know his parents and lives with his senile but kind-hearted uncle James(Creed Bratton). Despite the attention of school bullies Terri is quite a strong character who likes to do things his own way. For instance, he likes to wear his pyjamas to school. One might think this an act of wilful defiance or showy eccentricity, but the reason Terri gives is simple comfort. Due to his failure to make classes and a generally poor academic performance, Terri is assigned to counselling sessions with a sympathetic but unconventional assistant principal, Mr Fitzgerald(John C. Reilly). Here Terri meets another interesting character in Chad(Bridger Zadina), a rather destructive teen with a sardonic wit who tends to cause trouble wherever he goes. Terri forms a special relationship with Mr Fitzgerald and feels comfortable revealing to him his various troubles and anxieties. Of course, there's a love interest too. Terri falls for a blonde girl named Heather(Olivia Crocicchia), who has recently been ostracized by her classmates for allowing a boy to finger her in a home economics class. Some of these plot points may sound quite familiar and others may not, but Terri covers both old and new ground with genuine tenderness and originality.
Wisocki is superb in his breakout role and portrays the simultaneous optimism and sullenness of the adolescent hero. Without overacting, he holds his own in scenes with the brilliant John C. Reilly. Reilly is a very likeable guy, and here he makes use of his talents as both comic and serious actor. His character is brilliantly conceived, at once lovable and flawed. In many ways Mr Fitzgerald is more confused and uncertain than the kids he counsels. One of the most touching moments is when he abandons his projected artifice of professionalism and concedes to the young protagonist: 'I'm just tryin' to help you.' The somewhat awkward and vulnerable mentor encapsulates a faintly subversive, anti-coming-of-age quality that's prevalent in the movie.
In its own quiet way, Terry is one of the best movies I've seen on the subject of destructive and confused adolescents.
It's a low-key and modest movie, but it's always refreshing to find characters who are unresigned to stereotypes or enslaved by trite plot details. There's not much of a plot at all to be honest, but it's all so charming and well-made that I didn't care. Director Azazel Jacobs lets the events unfold with grace and natural ease, leading to a strange yet poignant final act. For all its surreal little touches, the movie also contains a grain of truth and sensitivity that is uncommon in most movies about high school misfits.
Terri is more of a darkly comic, bittersweet ballad than a film with a decisive progression from Point A to Point B; nothing is resolved, and Terri neither receives particularly sound advice, nor gains any meaningful epiphanies into how to make life easier for himself.
Despite this, we do get the impression by the movie's end that Terri has at least stepped onto the long path to self-actualization. The film takes a cue from A Boy Named Charlie Brown (1969), repeating that story's poignant message that the world isn't going to come to an end just because you fail to meet mainstream society's expectations, and that it's OK to be who you are.