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

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

War Dogs Movie Review

War Dogs Movie Review

Based on a rather astounding true story, this comedy-drama centres on two stoners who landed...

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

Advertisement
The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

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.