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Fat Albert
2004 - PG - 100 Mins.
Director: Joel Zwick
Producer: John Davis
Written By: Bill Cosby, Charles Kipps, Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel
Starring: Kenan Thompson, Kyla Pratt, Omari Grandberry, Jermaine Williams, Marques Houston
Review by: Joe Rickey
Official Site: www.fatalbertthemovie.com
   

Meet your maker.
The movie ‘Fat Albert’ concerns a down but not quite out teenager (Kyla Pratt) who suffers from “movie depression.” What I mean by that is she feels supremely sorry for herself because she is not the center of attention (her older sister, adopted into her family at a young age, takes that position) and she is jealous and weeps openly about her oh so “awful” fate. It seems that she could have friends if she would only put forth the necessary effort. Instead, she spends her time moping through the school day and coming home to cry some more. It is during one of these home sessions of openly weeping that she happens to cry so hard and forcefully that a single tear drop landing on her TV remote causes Fat Albert and his gang from “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids” to come through (literally) her TV set into her world in hopes of lifting her dispirited spirits. They must right her world in a limited amount of time, after which they would cease to exist because they continually “fade out” as the film progresses.

‘Fat Albert’ is a film that practically gets down on its proverbial knees as it begs the audience to like it. Its title character and his group of fits (they would be misfits except they don’t cause any trouble) are so aggressively likable that one can’t help but relent and go with their oh so innocent behavior that makes your average Good Samaritan look like a hardened criminal. Director Joel Zwick (‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’) garners effortlessly good performances from his cast, with the exception being Pratt who suffers from writing that presents her character as someone whose depression actually makes her more unlikable than likable in her misery.

Meanwhile, Kenan Thompson (as the title character) is charming and adept at both the comedy and drama that the role requires. He achieves a disarming likeability one hopes for but does not expect from what appeared to be a disaster in the making from the horrid advertising put forth by Fox. Despite a myriad attempts at humor that seem destined to fall flat because of their sheer ineptitude and/or lame nature, Thompson breezes right through them so fast that one barely has time to notice. By all accounts, his years on “Saturday Night Live” are paying dividends; at least they do in this case.

When it is all said and done, can ‘Fat Albert’ be recommended? It depends on what one is looking for in their movie going experience. If all one wants is a film that they can feel safe in seeing with their whole family and something that can be enjoyed by both kids and their elders, then yes, it is recommended. One thing is for sure, it is eons better than the toilet humor-laced ‘Racing Stripes’.

 
Movie Guru Rating
Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not.
  3 out of 5 stars

 
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