Chris Colfer, best known as high school soprano Kurt Hummel on TV’s Glee, was himself a 16-year-old student when he first wrote the script for Struck by Lightning, a pleasant, novice-quality feature-length project in which Colfer plays Carson Phillips. Surprise, Carson is a high school senior! Well, a dead senior: After his lofty aspirations to write for The New Yorker are cut painlessly and semi-amusingly short by a freak encounter with lightning, Carson looks back on his so-called life with the gently rueful wisdom that is frequently granted young dead people in flashback tales like this one. The message? Seize the day, kids.
There are some real stresses in the fellow’s life, many caused by his mess of a drunken single mom (an affecting Allison Janney). But mostly, as directed by TV-seasoned Brian Dannelly (Weeds), Struck by Lightning sticks to generic character sketches of high school student types — the jock, the goth, the cheerleader, etc. — and gives Carson the best lines. In between, some charming, buzzy talents pitch in on this short little lark, among them Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks, Modern Family’s Sarah Hyland, and the singular Rebel Wilson (Pitch Perfect), who plays Carson’s best friend and deadpan one-gal pep squad. B-