Fat Albert

"Terrible"

Fat Albert Review


If you grew up in the 1970s and early '80s and were allowed to wallow in the guilty pleasures of Saturday morning cartoons, you remember Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. It had fantastic characters - the aptly-named Mushmouth, hat-faced Dumb Donald, pint-sized "You're like school on Saturday" Russell, and - of course - the jolly main man himself. These guys had wacky voices spouting colorful, funny dialogue. And, as the funk-tastic theme song stated, if you weren't careful, "you might just learn something" from its feel-good storylines.

So, when I first heard Hollywood was remaking Fat Albert, I had high hopes for this live-action version of one of my favorite old-school cartoons. Maybe, just maybe, it could be a clever, slightly-edgy spoof a la The Brady Bunch Movie. Sadly, Fat Albert turns out to be just a bloated and feeble after-school special that's even too sappy for kids.

Hey, hey, hey - bombs away.

The lameness begins right off the top. Wallflower Doris (Kyla Pratt) can't seem to make friends at school, and finds solace from her loneliness in watching Fat Albert cartoons. While watching an episode, the show's plot reminds her of her own social plight, and it makes her cry. When her tear lands on the TV remote, a giant tear falls from the cartoon sky on the show and -- no, I am not kidding -- lands within the toon landscape, where it opens up a portal into Doris' living room. In his never-ending quest to solve problems, Fat Albert (Kenan Thompson) jumps through the portal and out of the TV, dragging his Junkyard Gang with him.

In the real world, these toon teens are all misfits, even to Doris who wants nothing more than for them to go back into the TV. Unfortunately, the crew discovers that the real world is making them fade away, and they can't attempt to jump back to TV Land (literally) until tomorrow's airing. So, they set about trying to make Doris popular, while also exploring this brave new world - from cell phones to shopping malls to falling in love.

As you can imagine, fish out of water jokes abound, and I've never heard such bad ones. Today's modern products - from pop-top cans ("Where's the can opener?") to its wireless gadgets (we get this gag twice) - confound the boys, resulting in few laughs. Outside of those gems, you're expected to find humor in the real-life gang doing their weak impersonations of the aforementioned loveable characters. Infuriatingly, the filmmakers go on to kill off the interesting parts of these characters by "fixing" their cartoon quirkiness through real-world help (Dumb Donald gets smart, etc.). Question for Bill: Why?

In the press notes, Bill Cosby claims to have signed on to do this project to remind us that "caring, sharing - and fun - never go out of style." And I'm down with that concept; wholesome family entertainment that teaches valuable life lessons in this jaded day and age is great. But, Bill, you did it better the first time when it was a cartoon; that's why it's a classic.

Fat Albert offers nothing clever or even nostalgic for parents to enjoy, and very little to amuse young people or even anyone with which to identify. So save your box office money, and go rent the show's DVD (which is advertised heavily throughout the film). I bet even today's kids will dig it.

Blonde boy: Get in ma belly!!!



Fat Albert

Facts and Figures

Run time: 93 mins

In Theaters: Saturday 25th December 2004

Box Office USA: $48.0M

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 23%
Fresh: 19 Rotten: 65

IMDB: 4.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , , Camille O. Cosby

Starring: as Fat Albert, as Rudy, as MushMouth, as Bill, as Bucky, Aaron Frazier as Old Weird Harold, as Dumb Donald, as Lauri, as Reggie, as Heather, as Becky, as Himself

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

The surprisingly thoughtful prequel trilogy comes to a powerful conclusion with this robust, dramatic thriller,...

It Comes At Night Movie Review

It Comes At Night Movie Review

This sharply original horror film not only approaches its premise from an unexpected angle, but...

Okja Movie Review

Okja Movie Review

As Tilda Swinton reteams with her Snowpiercer director, Korea's Bong Joon Ho, it's perhaps unsurprising...

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

This may be the third reboot of this franchise in 15 years, risking audience exhaustion,...

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Actually the fourth film in the series (don't forget the prequel Minions), this animated super-villain...

Advertisement
Baby Driver Movie Review

Baby Driver Movie Review

Wildly energetic and so cool it hurts, this action movie has been put together in...

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

There's a clear sense that this Tupac Shakur biopic is hoping to build on the...

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.