A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that because of the high school setting and gentle boy-girl crushes that partially drive the story, Fat Albert will have more appeal for middle grade kids and tweens. However, other than a few cartoonish pratfalls and an avalanche of product placement, there's no iffy material for kids of any age. It's a well-intentioned, ethnically diverse, and wholesome movie with lots of clearly stated messages.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Hey hey hey! Fat Albert is back. This live action-film is based on Bill Cosby's comedy and the 1970s animated television show Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. A lonely teenaged girl named Doris (Kyla Pratt) watches the Fat Albert cartoon show after school. When her tear falls onto the remote control, Fat Albert knows he must help her. So he climbs right out of the television set and into her living room, and the whole gang comes along (Rudy, Mushmouth, Dumb Donald, Weird Harold, and Bill and his pesky little brother Russell). Dressed in their fly '70s outfits, they're completely befuddled by newfangled inventions like soda can flip-tops and cell phones. Present-day characters are mostly equally befuddled by the gang's '70s animation qualities (Fat Albert wins a race with a track star using his cartoon glide/shuffle and Dumb Donald cannot take off that face-covering hat because he is not sure there is anything underneath). But some, including Doris' sweet and pretty foster sister, are taken with their old-school charm.
Is it any good?
The storytelling in FAT ALBERT is so gentle that it barely registers, made up of disconnected moments almost as though it was limited to the brief skit-like segments of the old cartoon show. What little narrative momentum builds up is quickly dissipated without being resolved. Music video star and valet/stylist to rap stars Farnsworth Bentley has a nice cameo as a clothing store salesman, but it is unlikely that his participation will matter to the intended audience for this film.
Cosby appears as himself to talk to Fat Albert and in a poignant epilogue at the grave of the real Fat Albert, again not something that will be very meaningful to the children in the audience. The children might also be concerned about why Doris' mother and father are not around and what happened to her foster sister's family. As Fat Albert and his friends stay in the real world too long, they start to fade away. But by then the movie itself seems faded. The film feels muddled and unsure of its audience, as out of its time as Fat Albert and the gang.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how outward things like looks and money matter when it comes to popularity and the importance of a good inner voice -- even if it comes as Fat Albert.
How do you think teh movie Fat Albert compares with the TV show Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids?
How do you like the time-travel aspect of the movie?
- In theaters: December 25, 2004
- On DVD or streaming: March 22, 2005
- Cast: Aaron Carter, Kenan Thompson, Omarion Grandberry
- Director: Joel Zwick
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Friendship
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: momentary language
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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