One of my favorite films growing up was Angus, the best John Hughes film that John Hughes never wrote. I’m sure many of you agree. It was a classic outsider teenage comedy, only this outsider had real, physical impediments to overcome, and there were no magical makeover cures. It was about looking within and pulling out that inner confidence beaten back by years of humiliation and fat jokes. It was also about James Van Der Beek getting punched in the face.
Terri, the upcoming indie with John C. Reilly and a very solid performance from Jacob Wysocki in the title role, is the more realistic, less superficial version of Angus. I saw it at Sundance this year, and it is hard to watch. It’s painful because it feels almost too real. It takes those humiliations and beats you with them. It gets you inside the mind of an obese sad-sack teenager, and it’s not a comfortable place to be. It has a few moments of sweetness, but mostly, like an episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” without any humor, it’s just really uncomfortable to watch, to both its credit and detriment.
Here’s the trailer, which plays up the sweetness angle and downplays the intense discomfort.