A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What 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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
Little about this movie is predictable, which makes it both entertaining and uplifting. 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.
Talk to your kids 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?
- In theaters: October 5, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: 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
- Last updated: September 20, 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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