Fat Kid Rules the World

 
(i)

 

Unpopular teen faces tough climb in edgy dramedy.
  • Review Date: September 15, 2012
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 98 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

At the start of the film, Troy has few friends and not much of a life. But Marcus drags him out of his shell and encourages him to pursue music. Troy eventually becomes a school leader, organizing a concert to cheer up his despondent pal and reaching out to help someone in need.

Positive role models

Neither Troy nor Marcus seems like an especially positive role model at first. Troy is shy and insecure, with few friends and few interests, while Marcus lies, steals, and takes drugs. But the unlikely pair manages to bond, and their friendship brings out the best in both of them, with Troy becoming more confident and a true pal.

Violence

Troy imagines horrible things that could happen to him, including getting hit by a bus, slashed with a razor, and shot by a security guard. All of these brief moments involve notable blood and gore, but they're gone quickly as he's brought back to his senses.

Sex

Troy ogles girls at his school, including attempts to peek up their skirts. He also has a vivid imagination, fantasizing about girls tearing off their clothes or wearing skimpy/revealing outfits. In one scene, he masturbates while watching online porn (no body parts shown on screen). His friend Marcus works briefly as a male prostitute, servicing men in a bathroom at a park (activities are implied rather than shown). A nude man is seen briefly from behind drying off after a shower.

Language

Frequent use of "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "d--k," "prick," and more.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A teen character steals pills from his friends' bathrooms and brags about finding Oxycodone. He likes to drink beer and appears to be snorting something at a concert. He later collapses and is hospitalized, in part because of his drug habit.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Fat Kid Rules the World features realistic high school situations, including an unpopular boy who's been ostracized for being overweight and a homeless teen who's angered everyone around him because he lies, steals, and takes drugs. There's plenty of swearing ("f--k," "s--t," etc.) and many scenes involving teen drinking and implied drug use, though nobody is actually shown taking drugs. A few scenes include fantasy sequences; some are violent/gory, while others are sexual fantasies involving women in their underwear. One teen character briefly works as a male prostitute; another masturbates to online porn. Despite all of this edgy content, this book-based dramedy is uplifting because it shows how the two characters help each other overcome their respective problems in ways that are both satisfying and believable.

What's the story?

Troy (Jacob Wysocki), the titular character in FAT KID RULES THE WORLD, is an unpopular loner, rarely noticed in his high school except when people mock him. He's got nothing going for him until he's befriended by Marcus (Matt O'Leary), a seemingly popular guitar player who encourages Troy to take up drumming and join his band. But Marcus has a few issues of his own, notably a drug habit and a penchant for lying to everyone around him that's gotten him kicked out of his house. Troy's burgeoning musical career soon earns him approval from his classmates, but it's unclear whether the boys' evolving friendship will be enough to help Marcus get clean and get off the streets.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Fat Kid Rules the World (which is based on the novel by K.L. Going) features realistic high school conflicts, especially a main character who's ostracized and depressed in very authentic ways. The friendship between Troy and Marcus also seems believable, as they each sorely need things the other can provide -- Troy learns to be confident and make friends, while Marcus gets help getting clean. It's especially heartening to see Troy develop from a loner into a leader.

The film isn't like the typical high school movie. It doesn't build to a big contest or show at the finale, and it changes direction midway through, shifting from a story about two guys trying to get their band going to one guy trying to pull the other back from the edge. The shift is surprising, elevating the movie above run-of-the-mill teen fare. Little about Fat Kid is predictable, which makes it both entertaining and uplifting.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how Fat Kid Rules the World portrays high school students. Is it believable? Are there realistic consequences for how they act?

  • How has Marcus' drinking and drug habit affected the people around him? Why doesn't anybody trust him?

  • What brings Troy and Marcus together? What keeps them together? Do you think Marcus is using Troy? Is either of them intended to be a role model?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 5, 2012
DVD release date:January 22, 2013
Cast:Billy Campbell, Jacob Wysocki, Matt O'Leary
Director:Matthew Lillard
Studio:Arc Entertainment
Genre:Drama
Topics:Book characters, Brothers and sisters, Friendship, High school
Run time:98 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:sexual and drug content, and brief violent images

This review of Fat Kid Rules the World was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written byBestPicture1996 June 9, 2014
 

Faithful to the novel

"FKRTW" was a great read, really tapping into the angst of heavier people, something I can certainly attest to back in the day. What I like here is that Troy doesn't really get bullied by anyone. If anything he bullies himself with self-effacing actions and putting himself down. Wysocki is fine as the protagonist, but the juicier role belongs to Matt O'Leary playing rock star Marcus, who in the book was more clearly a tribute to Kurt Cobain's rambunctious wild side. It's a pretty good high school film, but doesn't go too far beyond being just average. Also it's a pretty tame R.
What other families should know
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written byZambz August 16, 2013
 

15 or older.

This movie has barely any violence, just some unpopular teen with suicidal thoughts due to loneliness and depression. This movie is comedy.There are words like, (f--k, s--t, etc.) and a lot of alcoholism. This movie should be rated ON for 15 years or older.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 11 years old February 5, 2013
 

Good movie plot bad effects

You need to no that fat kid rules the world is a good movie with positive messages though some of scenes in this movie can be cheesy. There is violence because he is always thinking about killing him self including him being hit by the bus and you see lots of spraying blood. The sex has naked breasts if you look hard when he imagines a girl in a white shirt pour her self in water revealing her breasts. The language has a few f words though not to bad. Movie has good plot bad effects.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass