“Struck by Lightning” is smart, amusing, modestly scaled and will appeal to a wider audience than just "Glee" fans who adore writer-star Colfer
Want to feel like a layabout and as if you’re already way behind schedule in your life?
At just 22 years of age, Chris Colfer has starred in a TV series, "Glee," for the past four seasons, winning a Golden Globe award and two Emmy nominations for his performance in the breakout role of gay high-school chorister Kurt Hummel.
Now Colfer has written a movie and stars in it and — here’s where the rest of us can start feeling like slackers — “Struck by Lightning” is smart, amusing, modestly scaled and will appeal to a wider audience than just Gleeks who adore Colfer and the Fox series.
Borrowing a page from “Sunset Boulevard,” Colfer begins his slight coming-of-age comedy by letting us know that his character, 17-year old Carson Phillips, is already dead. Carson, a high-school senior with literary ambitions, departs this earth thanks to lightning bolt that strikes his car.
The rest of the movie is an extended flashback to his final year of high school, during which Carson, an outcast, starts a literary journal, hoping his effort will impress the admissions committee at a fancy college sufficiently to approve his application.
The problem? None of his classmates want to contribute. Carson gets around this hurdle by digging up enough dirt to blackmail many of the school’s more popular kids — a jock, cheerleader and goth girl — into joining his endeavor.
The comedy, directed by Brian Dannelly (Showtime’s “Weeds”), sometimes gets more complicated than it needs to be and often feels a wee bit smug, but on the whole this is a promising first effort.
The supporting cast, which includes Rebel Wilson as Carson’s best friend, Allison Janney as his out-of-it single mother, Dermot Mulroney as his absent father and Christina Hendricks as dad’s new wife, all provide solid support, with Wilson, a skilled clown, earning the lion’s share of the laughs.
The 84-minute movie opens in theaters in New York and Los Angeles and several other cities on Friday. It has been available on VOD since Dec. 19.