Struck By Lighting is an odd movie – a heartfelt drama/comedy that isn’t nearly as laugh-at-loud funny as it claims to be. Chris Colfer (a.k.a. ‘Kurt’ from Glee) plays Carson Phillips, a high school outcast who is struck and killed by lightning. The End. Okay, maybe not the end. That’s actually the beginning. Carson proceeds – in voiceover- to recount his upbringing by a depressed and over-medicated single mother (Allison Janney), his lifelong passion for writing, and his strong desire to get out of his small town and into his dream school, Northwestern (my alma mater).
A guidance counselor suggests that Carson start a literary magazine to help set him apart from all the usual NU applicants (i.e. folks like me who edited their H.S. newspaper). But nobody’s interested in writing for him. So he enlists the help of his only friend Malerie (the awesomely talented but underutilized Rebel Wilson), and her video camera, to help him blackmail the cool kids into contributing to the magazine. It works – but not without repercussions, of course.
Colfer wrote the screenplay for Struck By Lightning so the project obviously represents a labor of love for the Glee star. But despite decent performances and a sweet if quirky coming-of-age premise, the movie is rather depressing. At least Glee breaks into song once in a while to lighten the mood. No such luck here. And there’s nothing worse than knowing the stars can sing, but don’t. In fact, I’d rather re-watch Pitch Perfect. It’s a similar type of movie, with more music, more humor, and more Rebel Wilson.
Colfer and the studio took Struck By Lightning directly to his fan base, by releasing it On Demand and iTunes even before it hit theaters. My 13-year-old niece and her gal (and guy) pals watched an early screening. They loved it. I wondered why. The answer from my niece: “probably cause I’m a big fan of Chris Colfer.” So there you have it. If you’re a fan of Chris Colfer, check it out. If you’re saying, ‘Chris who… from what show?” then you can skip it.