Troop Zero

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Troop Zero
Troop Zero.jpeg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBert & Bertie
Screenplay byLucy Alibar
Based onChristmas and Jubilee Behold The Meteor Shower
by Lucy Alibar
Produced by
CinematographyJim Whitaker
Edited byCatherine Haight
Music byRob Lord
Distributed byAmazon Studios
Release dates
  • February 1, 2019 (2019-02-01) (Sundance)
  • January 17, 2020 (2020-01-17) (United States)
Running time
94 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$10-20 million[2]

Troop Zero is a 2019 American comedy-drama film, directed by British female duo Bert & Bertie, from a screenplay by Beasts of the Southern Wild co-writer Lucy Alibar and inspired by Alibar's 2010 play Christmas and Jubilee Behold The Meteor Shower.[3] The film stars Viola Davis, Mckenna Grace, Jim Gaffigan, Mike Epps, Charlie Shotwell, and Allison Janney.[4]

The film had its world premiere as the closing film of Sundance Film Festival on February 1, 2019. It was released on January 17, 2020, by Amazon Studios.


In rural Wiggly, Georgia in 1977, a group of elementary-school misfits band together to form their own troop of Birdie Scouts.

Led by spunky outcast Christmas Flint (Mckenna Grace), they infiltrate the Birdie Scout youth group in order to win a talent show. The winning Birdies will earn the right to have their voices included on the Voyager Golden Record, which Christmas believes will be heard by life in outer space, a connection her deceased mother nurtured. When they form the troop, the only number left unassigned in the state is zero; while the Birdie Troop leader Krystal Massey (Allison Janney) intends to assign "Troop Zero" to them as a slight, the girls, and one boy, take it as a good sign as it's the number representing infinity. Troop Zero requires a troop mother, and they find one in Christmas's father's secretary Rayleen (Viola Davis), who also has history with Mrs. Massey.

To qualify to compete in the talent show, Troop Zero must first obtain one troop badge each. As they go about earning them, they learn more about themselves and each other. The troop enters the contest, performing an interpretive dance of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity". During the performance Christmas gets nervous and wets herself and the rest of the kids joins her to make her feel comfortable and the crowd laughs at them, but they carry on with their performance. In the end, they lose when the judges vote for the high-and-mighty Birdie Troop Five. Later that night, the representative from NASA joins the Troop Zero members during a meteor shower to record their voices to be transmitted into space as well. Hopeful and confident, Christmas wishes that the aliens are happy, that they're taking care of her mom, and that they have the same kind of friends she’s gained from the experience.



In February 2018, it was announced Viola Davis had joined the cast of the film, with Bert & Bertie directing from a screenplay by Lucy Alibar. Todd Black produced the film, which Amazon Studios would distribute.[5]

This is the second feature film directed by Bert & Bertie, who have been creating commercials and shorts together since the two ladies met on a project in 2005.[6]

In March 2018, Mckenna Grace joined the cast of the film.[7] In April 2018, Allison Janney and Jim Gaffigan joined the cast.[8] In May 2018, Mike Epps, Charlie Shotwell and Edi Patterson joined the cast.[9][10] In June 2018, Johanna Colón, Ashley Brooke, Milan Ray, Bella Higginbotham, and Kai Ture' joined the cast of the film. Troop Zero marks the second film together for Janney and Grace, who co-starred in the 2017 biopic I, Tonya.[11][12] This is also the second film featuring Allison Janney and Viola Davis, who co-starred in the 2011 film The Help.

The musical score for the film is by long time Bert & Bertie collaborator composer Rob Lord who has scored all the directors' projects to date.


Principal photography began in May 2018 at Fairview-Riverside State Park in Madisonville, Louisiana, with additional photography completed in Luling, Louisiana.[13]


It had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on February 1, 2019.[14] This was the first feature film from Amazon Studios to be released as streaming-only, on the Amazon Prime Video service,[15] on January 17, 2020.[16]


Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 68% approval rating based on 65 reviews, with an average rating of 6.4/10, with the consensus "Thanks to a charming cast and infectious energy, Troop Zero is more than the sum of its instantly familiar parts."[17] On Metacritic it has a score of 58% based on reviews from 12 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews."[18]

Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote: "Troop Zero is so sugary you’d get a cavity if you bit into it — but it’s also a cozy, satisfying and inspirational underdog tale, featuring a wonderful performance by Mckenna Grace."[19] John DeFore of The Hollywood Reporter praised performance of Viola Davis, "Davis isn't given a very satisfying backstory to work with, but when has she needed one? The actress strikes a satisfying balance between reluctance and protectiveness. Gaffigan and Janney offer just what their parts in the story need, but Davis keeps it all on the rails."[20]


  1. ^ "Troope Zero". Sundance Film Festival. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
  3. ^ Cox, Gordon (July 14, 2012). "'Beasts' author has stage roots". Variety. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  4. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr (May 19, 2012). "'Beasts Of The Southern Wild' Co-Writer Lucy Alibar Sets Next Gig At Escape Artists". Deadline. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  5. ^ Kroll, Justin (February 20, 2018). "Viola Davis to Star in Amazon Film 'Troupe Zero' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  6. ^ Morfoot, Addie (January 4, 2019). "10 Directors to Watch: Bert and Bertie Combine Forces on Underdog Comedy 'Troop Zero'". Variety. Retrieved January 22, 2020.
  7. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (March 29, 2018). "'I, Tonya's Mckenna Grace Joins Viola Davis In 'Troupe Zero'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  8. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (April 24, 2018). "Allison Janney & Jim Gaffigan To Co-Star In Amazon's 'Troupe Zero'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  9. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (May 23, 2018). "Mike Epps Cast In 'Troupe Zero' Movie From Amazon Studios". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  10. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (May 24, 2018). "'All the Money in the World' Actor Charlie Shotwell, Edi Patterson Added To Amazon's 'Troupe Zero'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  11. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (June 1, 2018). "'Troupe Zero' Casts Ashley Brooke & Milan Ray; Tommy Ragen Joins Sean McNamara's 'Chasing' Movie". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  12. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (June 19, 2018). "'Walking Dead' Actor Major Dodson To Star In 'Tyson's Run'; 'Troupe Zero' Casts Bella Higginbotham". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  13. ^ "'Troupe Zero' Starring Viola Davis New Orleans Open Casting Call". Project Casting. May 7, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  14. ^ Debruge, Peter (November 28, 2018). "Sundance Film Festival Unveils 2019 Features Lineup". Variety. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  15. ^ Gyarkye, Lovia (January 16, 2020). "'Troop Zero' Review: A New Generation of Underdogs". The New York Times. Retrieved January 22, 2020.
  16. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (November 11, 2019). "Amazon Viola Davis-Allison Janney Sundance Kid Pic 'Troop Zero' Heading To Prime Streaming Service". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  17. ^ "Troop Zero". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  18. ^ "Troop Zero". Metacritic. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  19. ^ Roeper, Richard (January 16, 2020). "'Troop Zero': Sugary as it is, underdog story also cozy and inspiring — scout's honor!". Chicago Sun-Times.
  20. ^ "'Troop Zero': Film Review | Sundance 2019". The Hollywood Reporter. January 25, 2019.

External links[edit]