Troop Zero

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Troop Zero
Troop Zero.jpeg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBert & Bertie
Produced by
Written byLucy Alibar
Starring
Music byRob Lord
CinematographyJim Whitaker
Edited byCatherine Haight
Production
companies
Distributed byAmazon Studios
Release date
  • February 1, 2019 (2019-02-01) (Sundance)
  • January 17, 2020 (2020-01-17) (United States)
Running time
94 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

Troop Zero is a 2019 American comedy-drama film, directed by 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.[2] The film stars Viola Davis, Mckenna Grace, Jim Gaffigan, Mike Epps, Charlie Shotwell, and Allison Janney.[3]

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

Plot[edit]

In rural 1977's Wiggly, Georgia, 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 high-and-mighty 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. The only number left unassigned when forming their troop is zero; the girls, and one boy, believe it a good sign as its the number for infinity, rather than a disparity meant by head Birdie Troop mother (Allison Janney). Troop Zero requires a troop mother, one they find in Christmas's fathers secretary (Viola Davis) who also has history with the head troop mother.

In order 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 where they perform an interpretative dance of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity". The crowd laughs at them, but they carry on with their performance, and in the end they lose when the judges vote for the high-and-mighty Birdie troop as winners. Later that night the representative from NASA joins them 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 and have the same kind of friends she’s gained from the experience.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

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 will distribute.[4]

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.[5]

In March 2018, Mckenna Grace joined the cast of the film.[6] In April 2018, Allison Janney and Jim Gaffigan joined the cast.[7] In May 2018, Mike Epps, Charlie Shotwell and Edi Patterson joined the cast.[8][9] 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.[10][11] 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.

Filming[edit]

Principal photography began in May 2018 at Fairview-Riverside State Park in Madisonville, Louisiana, with additional photography completed in Luling, Louisiana.[12]

Release[edit]

It had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on February 1, 2019.[13] This was the first feature film from Amazon Studios to be released as streaming-only, on the Amazon Prime Video service,[14] on January 17, 2020.[15]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 68% approval rating based on 56 reviews, with an average rating of 6.59/10, with the consensus "Thanks to a charming cast and infectious energy, Troop Zero is more than the sum of its instantly familiar parts."[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Troupe Zero". Sundance Film Festival. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
  2. ^ Cox, Gordon (July 14, 2012). "'Beasts' author has stage roots". Variety. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Kroll, Justin (February 20, 2018). "Viola Davis to Star in Amazon Film 'Troupe Zero' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  5. ^ Morfoot, Addie (January 4, 2019). "10 Directors to Watch: Bert and Bertie Combine Forces on Underdog Comedy 'Troop Zero'". Variety. Retrieved January 22, 2020.
  6. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (March 29, 2018). "'I, Tonya's Mckenna Grace Joins Viola Davis In 'Troupe Zero'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  7. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (April 24, 2018). "Allison Janney & Jim Gaffigan To Co-Star In Amazon's 'Troupe Zero'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  8. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (May 23, 2018). "Mike Epps Cast In 'Troupe Zero' Movie From Amazon Studios". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ "'Troupe Zero' Starring Viola Davis New Orleans Open Casting Call". Project Casting. May 7, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  13. ^ Debruge, Peter (November 28, 2018). "Sundance Film Festival Unveils 2019 Features Lineup". Variety. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  14. ^ Gyarkye, Lovia (January 16, 2020). "'Troop Zero' Review: A New Generation of Underdogs". The New York Times. Retrieved January 22, 2020.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ "TROOP ZERO". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved January 16, 2020.

External links[edit]