Some things like bullying are not funny in life or in Troop Zero. But talented child star Mckenna Grace’s (Gifted) impressive portrayal of Christmas Flint, a spunky little underdog back in 1977 rural Georgia, makes this youthful comedy worth seeing. Surprisingly, it was easy for me to empathize with Christmas’ obsession about outer space. This fascinating youngster grabbed my interest early on while staring up at the stars sparkling in a dark sky as she wonders about them -- and if anyone is out there who can see or hear her. At her age, I also stared up at the sky -- day or night -- worrying about airplanes or asteroids falling on my head. That obsession probably explains my fear of flying to this day. I'm pleased that Christmas deals with her space/science interest in a more productive way.
When Christmas hears about the opportunity to be recorded on NASA’s Golden Record, which will be placed on the Voyager spacecraft, she recruits a motley crew of fellow students to participate in the NASA competition for this honor. But since that competition will be held at the Annual Birdie Scouts Jamboree, this new group will have to become Birdie Scouts. Not an easy obstacle to overcome for these misfit kids, for sure. This is where the fun begins for young audience members, who will also gain a better understanding of how friendships develop and grow strong.
Standing in the way are the snobby girls who like to humiliate Christmas by calling her “bed wetter” and doing other nasty things to make her life miserable. Also, the equally snobbish regional Birdie Scout leader (Allison Janney) lends most of her support to those meanies. However, on Christmas’ side are: her dad (Jim Gaffigan), a good-natured but almost penniless lawyer; his out-of-sorts reluctant assistant (Viola Davis); and Joseph (Charlie Shotwell). a loyal pal who knows a lot about fashion and hair.
Cute misfit girl, victim of scorn,
one leg shorter when she was born.
Her mama died so dad is boss.
Hard to get over such sad loss.
Still, the girl takes all this in stride.
Form a ragtag group? She’ll decide.
But competing with other groups?
Huge chance of losing with big OOPS!
Outer space plays a major role
in this film with friendship a goal.
TROOP ZERO’s heart -- in the right place.
Cheers for actress Mckenna Grace.
Being heard and having good friends,
both blended when comedy ends.
Will Christmas’ Zero Troopers win the competition? We can’t help hoping they do. And the suspense concerning what kind of act they will perform helps keep us interested during some pretty silly scenes featuring potty humor and stereotypes. But how I wish the film included rehearsals of Troop Zero's competition routine. What fun that would have been!
(Available on Amazon Prime and rated “PG” by MPAA.)