Struck by Lightning
Directed by Brian Dannelly
Starring Chris Colfer, Rebel Wilson, Allison Janney, Dermot Mulroney
A single, fundamental misstep hampers "Struck by Lightning," the new high school comedy starring and written by "Glee" star Chris Colfer.
It's not the ugly, washed-out cinematography or the story's bizarre framing device (that title's more literal than you might think).
Rather, it's the simple fact that main character Carson Phillips (Colfer), an aspiring journalist, is extraordinarily irritating. Not in the usual twerpy, self-absorbed high schooler sense, but in that sort of rare hateful way where you can't stand to spend another second in his presence.
That's a problem when Colfer and director Brian Dannelly want us to sympathize with Carson's plight. After all, this poor, neglected guy - with an absentee dad (Dermot Mulroney) and drug-addicted mom (Allison Janney) - just wants to create a literary magazine that will help him get into Northwestern.
If Carson and best friend Malerie (Rebel Wilson) have to snidely blackmail a bunch of classmates into participating in the magazine, then so be it. But what's supposed to be an edgy portrait of high school's pressures is, in fact, rather tame, while the underdog outsider at the center of the story will make you cringe.