Prayer Focus
Movie Review

Fat Albert

MPAA Rating: PG for momentary language

Reviewed by: Lori Souder
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Kids Teens Family
Genre:
Fantasy Family Comedy
Length:
1 hr. 40 min.
Year of Release:
2004
USA Release:
December 25, 2004
Featuring: Kenan Thompson, Dania Ramirez, Shedrack Anderson III, Aaron Frazier, Omari Grandberry
Director: Joel Zwick
Producer: John Davis
Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox
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Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “A generation grew up watching Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, the Saturday morning cartoon series that enjoyed one of the longest runs in cartoon history, airing from 1972-79. It was later reprised as The New Fat Albert Show that ran from 1979-84. Now, Fat Albert makes the jump to the big screen.”

Review

Fat Albert, the main character of the long running cartoon show in the 70s, makes an appearance in the real world of 2004 in this movie geared towards families. He brings his good buddies along for the ride, including Mushmouth, Dumb Donald, Bill, Bucky, Old Weird Harold, and Rudy. While Fat Albert is in the flesh trying to help out a young depressed girl named Doris, his animated junkyard kingdom is in jeopardy. A rival group of cartoon kids are taunting, “Naa, naa, naa, gonna have a bad time!”

The Fat Albert gang is very excited and happy to be alive in the real world. However, Doris is not too pleased to have to deal with the strangely dressed, technologically challenged group following her like a pack of puppies. Fat Albert is quite sure he is alive to solve Doris’s problem, even though he has no idea what that might be. Time is short because the gang can only go back into their cartoon world when their show is being aired and they are quickly fading away into celluloid dust as time passes.

This movie is sweet and funny and clever and fun. I enjoyed every minute of it, but some children with short attention spans may find it hard to sit through. The payoff is worth it, with some highlights being the chitty-chitty bang-bang cousin, smooth transitions of the characters popping in and out of the cartoon world, and the final heartwarming ending.

I think that the people who will most enjoy this movie are the fans of the original TV series because they will understand the innocence of the Fat Albert characters. No car crashes, guns, death, or brutal violence in this movie, no bad language or real nudity. There was an “Oh God” and an “Oh Lord” in the film as well as some low necklines, bare mid-drifts and short skirts. But I felt that the clothing was more to make the movie look current rather than to be exploitive. Mushmouth is supposed to say a few bad words or phrases but who could really tell for sure? Each time he is shushed and told to not speak that way.

Why this movie is rated PG? I have no idea. There is some “menace” and mild cartoon violence at the junk yard. At one point in the movie a bit of accidental innocent nudity is alluded to, and an inoffensive remark is made about it, but it is never shown onscreen and great effort is made to hide the exposed flesh from anyone. This movie is the nearest thing to G that I have seen for a while. I have viewed television shows that are rated “G” that have much more offensive material.

This movie is especially empowering for young girls. Doris is portrayed as an athletically gifted girl who is responsible, respectful, and studious. The movie is a painless lesson on how much kid’s lives and interests have changed since the 70s. Was it really that long ago? Can kids today imagine a world where a group of young guys can have fun without a boombox, cellphones, dirty jokes, pagers, hand held video games, drugs, and cool cars?

I noticed at the official Web site several name of the Cosby kids are toned down because they are not considered politically correct these days. This movie does not want to offend or stereotype anyone, and I think it does a great job. It also stays true to the original characters of the Cosby series, and the actors are great at the voices and mannerisms. I liked the plot. The music is good, and I especially enjoyed the hip hop version of Fat Albert’s theme song, sung by Fat Albert himself.

I can highly recommend this movie for all audiences.

Violence: Minor / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Minor

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—I took my 4 kids to this (ages 7-17), and we all enjoyed the movie. There is a good lesson to be learned. Fat Albert and his friends are gentlemen throughout the movie (kind of refreshing). I did not find anything offensive in the movie. One part in the movie two of Fat Alberts friends put head phones on in a music store where the hear some offensive lyrics, they quickly take the head phones off and tell each other not to use that kind of language. I think adults who know the series will enjoy it more then the kids though.
My Ratings: [Good/4]
—Jim, age 44
Positive—My 10 year old daughter and I enjoyed this movie. I found myself smiling throughout the movie because it was family entertainment that was clean, funny, and had a good message. This was not an action movie, and some may think that the beginning may be a bit slow. But, once it took off it delivered. The message it left with us was this; do not allow fear to get in the way of giving your best. If you are looking for clean family entertainment this is it.
My Ratings: [Good/4]
—Pat Miller, age 46
Positive—My husband and I took our four sons to see this movie, ages 5-14 years old. All were entertained throughout the movie, despite the fact that none of them had seen the original cartoon.

I really liked Albert’s gentlemanly conduct in the film and that fact that it was noticed AND appreciated by the girls in the film was wonderful.

I could have done without some of the tighter outfits that some of the characters wore, but they were still tame (unfortunately) by what I have personally seen at public High Schools.

Nothing really objectional in this film. My children had a good time and I never felt uncomfortable in bringing them.
My Ratings: [Good/3]
—Lynai Torabpour, age 40
Positive—The movie was real to the fact that we were to mourn and grieve for the dead but not loose hope. without giving much away the main character had to learn that love continues on even when those we love die and strength and faith is needed to go on in life. Fat Albert never searched for trouble, and his whole purpose was to help others in need, which is what we Christians are here to show the world it is better to give than to receive.
My Ratings: [Good/4]
—Oluwaseyi Odewale, age 29
Positive—I loved the movie. It was very cute! I loved what gentlemen the guys were. Also the ending is very sweet. Of course in my eyes anything with Bill Cosby is most likely going to be good. I took my kids and I was not sorry I took them at all.
My Ratings: [Good/3]
—Kelli, age 29
Positive—Taking my 11 year old son along, I found myself either chuckling or laughing at the adventure of Fat Albert throughout the movie. It was refreshing watching relationships between characters that were not mean spirited or exploitive. Bill Cosby, instead of using cartoon characters, uses actors for communicating friendship, trust, respect, shared interests, and the desire for helping others. When the movie ended, what caught my attention was the cemetary scene. Bill Cosby stands at a grave site with a group of men who are identified as the people, possibly childhood friends from North Philadelphia, whom the original cartoon characters represented. If that is the case given his age, Bill Cosby honors all of them as his friends. That is a quality that makes Fat Albert touching and worth watching for the value of friendships or connections with childhood friends.
My Ratings: [Good/4]
—Alvin, age 51
Positive—My wife and I took our two kids (7 and 12), and we all were pleasantly impressed with this great film, as we found nothing objectionable. Fat Albert and his friends are gentlemen throughout the movie and lessons of selflessness and helping friends in need was strongly encouraged. It was nice to see Bill Cosby in the film, as he played a significant role in my childhood memories and I’m sure of others my same age.
My Ratings: [Good/3½]
—Wil Reed, age 34
Positive—If there is one thing you should remember after watching this movie, it’s that while clothing may go in and out of style, good manners do not.
My Ratings: [Excellent!/4½]
—Dave, age 33
Positive—This is the best family film I have seen in a very long time and it proves that Hollywood can make a good movie if only they try hard enough. I have a seven and eleven year old and it was such a relief to sit through a movie and not cringe. My husband and I are very strict but this movie was perfect. There was nothing at all, no cursing, no nudity, violence, just good manners and a wonderful story about a young girl facing life’s challenges. I highly recommend this movie.
My Ratings: [Good/5]
—Christine G, age 35
Positive—I like the movie. There’s nothing negative about this movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Mario Avila, age 42 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—“Fat Albert” was a great movie! My dad and I enjoyed the movie the whole way through. When it was over, my dad said it was the most wholesome movie he had ever seen. The movie has some great values, like helping others, being yourself, and not conforming to the crowd. Go see it!
My Ratings: [Good/4]
—Kati, age 11
Positive—Great family flick. I don’t think I saw one thing offensive. If you like the old cartoons, you will love seeing how they would live in today’s society. Wonderful!
My Ratings: [Excellent!/5]
—A.I., age 13
Positive—This is a funny movie with good morals! I would definitely buy it on DVD.
My Ratings: [Good/5]
—Kurt, age 13
Neutral—This movie is an ok movie. I have seen it 5 times. I would not recommend this movie for ages 8 and under.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/3]
—Aaron, age 17
Positive—Hey, hey, hey, watch it today! excellent movie for christians. Fat Albert, dumb Donald, and a host of other characters are souls made for the big screen. Yes, Fat Albert will leave you laughing your head off. Please do me a favor and do see Fat Albert. I am your best fan.
My Ratings: [Good/4½]
—Matt Shaw, age 9
Negative—I thought this movie was horrible. I went to see this with 4 of my friends, and we were bored the entire movie. Although the younger kids in the audience seemed to enjoy the movie. This was a completely clean movie, but very corny. I recommend for families and Children 4-10.
My Ratings: [1]
—Jordan, age 13
Movie Critics
…leans on its audience’s familiarity with the cartoon for laughs, and the results are uneven at best…
—Robert K. Elder, Chicago Tribune
…The movie is sweet and gentle, but not very compelling…
—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
…a tame, inoffensive little comedy that’s never heinous enough to stink up the theater completely, even though it rarely rises above mediocrity…
—Phil Kloer, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
…well-meaning but plot is a little flabby…
—Wesley Morris, Boston Globe