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Terri

Year: 2011
Production Co: Verisimilitude
Director: Azazael Jacobs
Writer: Azazael Jacobs/Patrick Dewitt
Cast: Jacob Wysocki, John C Reilly

It's a quirky indie drama up there with the most earnest of them, but even though it has a sense of sweetness there are just too many threads of weirdness that never draw together to explain themselves.

Terri is a big kid who lives with his Alzheimers-affected Uncle and seems to be a loner and have absolutely no shame or interest in having any. He wears pyjamas to school because they're more comfortable, an idea that fits right into the spirit of the movie but is never really explored.

It looked like it was going to be a story about bullying, but the few times he gets picked on because of his weight or how different he is from the other kids seems no worse than what any school-aged kid goes through.

The whole plot is a little bit episodic, treading water in a theme or idea and then moving on to something else. First he starts feeding the mice he catches in traps in his attic to a bird out in the woods, fascinated where his Uncle thinks he should be repulsed.

He makes erstwhile friends with Chad, a difficult kid who's always at the assistant principal's office (Reilly, whose presence in the cast no doubt got the film financed). Terri himself has been going to see the chirpy administrator because of continued tardiness, but Mr Fitzgerald seems more interested in making friends than anything.

And he makes friends with a pretty classmate who's lost all her cachet after being seen in a compromising situation with a boy while in class.

All of these short stories play out but none of them really add up to a cohesive whole despite a good-natured tone that's thankfully not the depressing victim story I assumed it was going to be.

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