“The Trouble With Terkel” comes with a caveat: This animated flick is offensive. But this is a post-“South Park” and “Sausage Party” world; we can handle provocatively-themed animation. And yet “The Trouble With Terkel” feels painfully outdated and stale, with rudimentary computer-generated visuals and characters that are potty-mouthed only for the sake of provocation.
It might have something to do with the fact that the film, which was a hit in Denmark, was made in 2004, with all the voices done by stand-up comic Anders Matthesen. This version, directed by Thorbjørn Christoffersen, Stefan Fjeldmark and Randolph Kret, is not a remake but a retrofit of the original with English-speaking voice actors for a new audience (though all the background signage remains in Danish).
The story follows a beleaguered boy named Terkel (Mike Olsen), who has a terrible family life, with an overbearing, chain-smoking mom and distant father, and a pair of vicious bullies at school. As Terkel plunges into the world of popularity, he betrays himself and his personal values, and soon his life is a literal horror movie.
The trouble with “The Trouble With Terkel” isn’t its tendency to try and offend, it’s that the taboo titillation is totally meaningless. The story meanders tediously, but there’s no real humor or cultural commentary to justify the offenses, which aren’t really that offensive.
‘The Trouble With Terkel’
Not rated, recommended for mature audiences
Running time: 1 hour, 24 minutes
Playing: Laemmle NoHo 7, North Hollywood