Reviewed by: Lori Souder
|Featuring:||Kenan Thompson, Dania Ramirez, Shedrack Anderson III, Aaron Frazier, Omari Grandberry|
|Distributor:||Twentieth Century Fox|
“Hey! Hey! Hey! Christmas Day”
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.”
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