Synopsis: Fat Albert and his crew transport to the real world in an effort to help a depressed teenager make some new friends. Despite being clueless about the modern world, the cartoon characters have a surprising amount of success fitting in. However, their absence from their cartoon universe is quickly felt as the bullies begin to take over.
Movie Review: Fat Albert (2004)
A review of the 2004 comedy starring Kenan Thompson and Kyla Pratt.
This movie has been out for a while now but, up until today, I had never taken the time to watch it. This is mostly because I did like the cartoon when I was younger and had some serious doubts about a live-action version (which I've found very rarely works). However, it happened to be on when I was home for lunch and I ended up watching it from the kitchen as I got my food and worked on tonight's dinner. And, I have to admit, it was better than I expected.
I think the thing I found I liked about this movie was the way it managed to pay tribute to the classic cartoon while, at the same time, giving the characters a brand new story that focused around today's society and technology. At first, I had some doubts about whether or not that would work. But, the movie found ways to show us the same lessons that were preached in the classic cartoon in a modern context.
I also found I liked some of the changes some of the characters went through as real-life people. Dumb Donald (Houston), for example, found he wasn't stupid. Plus, we finally got to see what was under his hat. The movie even updates the show's theme song by putting it to a hip hop beat (which ended up sticking in my head most of the afternoon).
My biggest complaint about this film is it is very predictable. I was able to correctly guess every plot twist, ranging from Fat Albert's (Thompson) desire to stay in the real world to the ending, which, admittedly, made an attempt to be suspenseful but failed.
Since it is a family movie, I sort of expected that when I started watching it and, under normal circumstances, probably wouldn't think it was that big of a deal. But, considering the attention to detail the writers gave the individual characters, it would have been nice to see the movie at least try to take things to another level by throwing in a few surprises.
As I said, the movie is predictable and, because of that, isn't a film I would consider particularly special. However, if you're looking for a family-friendly comedy and were a fan of the cartoon series, it is worth taking the time to watch this on a rainy day.
My Grade: C