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‘Terri' is so very ... OK.

Rod Lott October 14th, 2011

A quiet, teenage misfit living more or less on is own is befriended by a well-meaning but not always honest adult who serves as a surrogate father. That story line fits two independent character studies this year, both from 20th Century Fox: "Win Win" and "Terri." But the former is much better than the latter.


Terri (Jacob Wysocki, TV's "Huge") is a morbidly obese 15-year-old who lives with his Alzheimer's-inflicted uncle (Creed Bratton, TV's "The Office") and wears pajamas to school just because they're comfortable, which he doesn't seem to realize makes him that much more of a target.

Helping Terri with his self-esteem on a weekly basis is the all-bark, semi-doofus principal (the great John C. Reilly, "Cedar Rapids"). After witnessing a "fingering" incident in home ec class, Terri stands up for the victim (Olivia Crocicchia, TV's "Rescue Me") with the principal, thus earning him his first shot at a sweetheart.

This bittersweet dramedy is so low-key, it's bound to lose viewers who'll bail well before the end. There's one scene so elongated, so awkward, I cannot blame them. Unshowy director Azazel Jacobs ("Momma's Man") more or less takes a realistic approach to the plot, which may explain why it feels so underwhelming. Wysocki seems like a natural, Reilly is as insta-likable as always, and the film is not without some nice moments (particularly a conversation played out solely on a notebook paper), but the sum is as savory as Terri's snack of choice: beans on toast. —Rod Lott

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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