The movie stretches the material of a half-hour show to an hour and a half, with no subplots, and lifts a number of the best lines from the series. It's stretched but holds its shape and definitely shows the benefit of those three seasons of development. (The relationship of the series to the movie is comparable to the Marx Brothers' taking their show on the road to test the material that became A Day at the Races .) As a thoroughgoing example of low-comic irony, the big-screen Strangers With Candy deserves a niche of honor alongside the Farrelly Brothers' Kingpin (1996) and Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor's Citizen Ruth (1996), as well as the very best of Chaplin's early shorts, the ones in which he really comes across as a scroungy tramp rather than the "soulful" Little Fellow who protects dogs and blind girls and orphans.
Strangers With Candy is unimaginable without Amy Sedaris as Jerri. Sedaris is pretty enough to have had a repeated role on Sex and the City but has an hallucinatorily elastic face: she gives Jerri a buck-toothed grimace that is as tempting as it is difficult to imitate. In this respect, Sedaris is easily on a par with Jim Carrey, and in her lack of concern for being conventionally attractive or likeable, she's way ahead of him.
A portion of our responses are due to the costuming and the hair and make-up: Sedaris wears unflattering "Comfort Zone" get-ups over "fatty" padding on her ass and thighs, hideous stiff wigs, garish eye shadow, and stains on her teeth. But she's also a fantastic mime. Her head movements perfectly punctuate the lessons she's getting wrong, and she's absolute mistress of a buggy eye tic.
In addition, Jerri always finds cruel jokes and painful mishaps funny, no matter who the victim is, even herself, and Sedaris does a single-shoulder movement when she laughs to rival Chaplin's ability to make sobbing, when seen from behind, indistinguishable from agitating a cocktail shaker. Sedaris's voice, unlike Chaplin's, is constantly surprising you as well. It can parodically mimic girlish expectancy, the "wisdom" of hard experience, a jailbird's bravado, seductiveness, frustration, and simultaneously both breakthrough realization and idiocy.
Moreover, the writing team has a Swiftian perception of the grossness of human physicality; no equally achieved comedy with a female protagonist has ever been nastier. Jerri, for instance, thinks it alluring to inform intended partners that she's "moist as a snake cake down there." What you see in one episode of "down there" — (a stunt double's) bruised, cottage-cheesy inner thighs, crowned by a little bell hanging from an unseen labial piercing — will definitely put you off your snake cake.