Struck by Lightning: A Personal Raincloud Can Be Deadly (2012)

Posted: June 17, 2013 in Comedy, Drama

Struck-by-Lightning-Posters2Reflecting back, Carson Phillips wonders if he made a difference in his short life. Having grown up in a broken family, he had gotten used to taking care of his drunk of a mother and his dementia-suffering grandmother. He had developed into a strong-spoken young man who had no trouble pushing his teachers to the limit. While talking with his guidance counselor, he explains that he wants to go to Northwestern and become a literary success but is informed that he would need to do something a little nontraditional to get noticed. Carson decides to develop a literary magazine but struggles to get help from his classmates until he starts to blackmail them into participation. While he is getting what he wants, he begins to alienate himself more than he had even realized. With a bolt of lightning end it all, was his life worth something?

Starring: Chris Colfer (Carson Phillips), Rebel Wilson (Malerie Baggs), Allison Janney (Sheryl Phillips), Scott Bailey (Officer Murray), Dermot Mulroney (Neal Phillips), Polly Bergen (Grandma), Kyle Burch (Riley), Roberto Aguire (Emilio), Angela Kinsey (Counselor), Ashley Rickards (Vicki Jordan), Matt Prokop (Dwayne Michaels), Sarah Hyland (Claire Mathews), Christina Hendricks (April), Robbie Arnell (Justin Walker)

Considering that the director focused all of the character development toward Colfer, he is the one that gets to showcase the greatest amount of development. While his character comes off a bit pompous and aggressive, you get a sense that he truly cares for his mother and grandmother while also struggling with what the people around him think of him. There is a sense that he wants to make a difference for people, and not just for himself. The only other characters to truly appear to evolve were Wilson, as she finds herself more confidence and a friend, and Janney, who seemed to have nothing to push herself to live for.

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Brian Dannelly, director of the great comedy Saved!, tried his hand at something a little more morbid with a reflection after death. While he was able to show a lot of progression for his main character, Carson seemed to take a lot of time and ignore a lot of social cues that elongated his ability to improve his family relationships and friendships. His aggressiveness was the reason for his outcast status. His desire to get into a great school clouded his judgment but actually had an unintended side effect on his peers. Because of his mostly unmanageable personality and expectations, he forced his classmates to do things they did not want to do. In the end, they broke out of their self-obsessed lives and at least made little changes to their approach to their lives at school.

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The rushed or absent character development of the other characters really hurt this movie’s appeal. Vicki was head cheerleader and a clear stereotype of the cheerleader personality. The movie even mocked this concept fairly unsuccessfully. While sitting in their class board meetings, their conversations about ideas for their upcoming dances appeared overly expected for theme ideas and lacked any sort of respect for the creativity of today’s youth. The comedy just simply fell short of funny. In a short moment where Dannelly attempted to showcase Vicki’s development, she rushed out of the room and then just fell back into place until his death. Malerie was at least much more interesting with the way that she documented the world around her and justified why she video records it. Even Janney seemed a little more interesting but also fell back into place after one moment of trying to impress her ex-husband.

For a comedy that is supposed to be a little different than the typical high school movie, Struck by Lightning seemed to both be lacking the comedy and use stereotypical elements of high school films to showcase its limited character development.

Dan’s Rating: 2.0/5


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