'The Trouble With Terkel': Film Review

Courtesy of Stefan Fjeldmark
The main 'trouble' is that it exists at all.

High school is hell in this misbegotten animated pic by Thorbjorn Christoffersen and Stefan Fjeldmark.

A not-for-children CG 'toon that isn't suited for grown-ups, either, the Danish import The Trouble With Terkel follows its title character through a high-school crisis involving death threats, bullying and almost unbelievably bad musical numbers. Amateurish on many levels and at some point seeming to have been made up on the spot (which would be quite a feat for animation), the collaboration between directors Thorbjorn Christoffersen and Stefan Fjeldmark is a strong contender for the year's worst film, and not in a fun way. Distributors say it is expanding into additional theaters in its second week of release — not due to word of mouth, certainly — but it seems certain to vanish quickly into obscurity after that.

The movie's visual aesthetic has its characters looking like Gumby-style plastic dolls with ping-pong ball eyes glued on. Producers dubbed the original dialogue into English — the ADR quality is so variable it sometimes sounds as if it were done via phone — but threw their hands up during one sequence, deciding it wasn't worth the effort to rewrite a rap number into English, or to explain the sudden language shift.

Action and dialogue is of the outrageously-offensive-schoolkids variety, but where South Park and its kin actually make jokes, Terkel — well, a substitute teacher is named Richard Ballsac. The ladies call him Dick, and that's probably the sturdiest attempt at humor in the film. 'Nuff said?

Production company: A.Film
Distributor: Indican Pictures
Cast: Mike Olsen, Eve Mauro, Vanessa Gomez, Chad Ridgely, Shark Firestone
Directors: Thorbjorn Christoffersen, Stefan Fjeldmark
Screenwriter: Randolph Kret
Producers: Trine Heidegaard, Thomas Heinesen
Executive producers: Shaun Hill, Kim Magnusson
Director of photography: Randolph Kret
Editors: Per Risager, Mikael Ryelund, Daniel Schneider, Martin Wichmann
Composer: Bo Rasmussen

Rated R, 84 minutes