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Fat Albert (2004)

Hey! Hey! Hey! Christmas Day

Directed by:

Joel Zwick

Rating: 4/10

Running Time: 93 minutes

US Certificate: PG UK Certificate: PG

Country: United States

In 1972, the mighty Bill Cosby came up with an idea for a kiddies’ cartoon series featuring characters based on his very own chums from High School. That show was called ‘Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids’. Its star was a fat bloke called Albert (natch) whose main two priorities in life appeared to be solving other people’s problems and saying “hey hey hey!” a lot – and, incredibly, it ran for a whopping TWELVE years, only finally coming to an end in 1984 when Uncky Bill would turn his attentions to the legendary ‘Cosby Show’ instead.

Now though, The Fatster is back, brought to life when whinging teen Doris (Kyla Pratt) splats a big ol’ sympathy-searching tear onto the front of her TV set during an ‘Albert’ re-run. Accompanied by various cronies such as Dumb Donald, Old Weird Harold and Mushmouth (Marques Houston, Aaron Frazier and Jermaine Williams), Albert (Kenan Thompson) climbs through the front of the goggle-box and insists upon lending a hand – but soon discovers real life in the Naughties to be a substantially different barrel of onions to animated life in the Seventies. I suppose that much is to be expected, really.

What follows is all fairly safe, bog-standard, family-friendly fat-guy-out-of-water stuff, as Albs and the gang struggle to cope with an array of modern day devices such as ring-pulls, mobile phones and DVDs, while at the same time trying to help Doris improve her life (although it has to be said that she seems to be bringing a lot of the misery on herself – after all, she DOES get invited to parties, and she DOES get asked to dance while she’s at them).

There are a couple of minor sub-plots involving Albert finding an unconvincing enemy in school bully Reggie (Omarion Grandberry) and an even less convincing love interest in Doris’ drop-dead gorgeous foster sister Lauri (Dania Ramirez, who I’d be willing to stake a small child’s life on reaching the very top within the next five years), but there’s nothing here you won’t see coming a mile off. That’s what tends to happen when you’re as big as Fat Albert is.

It's Got: In “hey hey hey!”, one of the most infuriating catchphrases of all time. If I hear it once more, I’m going to rip my own ears off and stuff them into the mouth of the person responsible.

It Needs: To include some sort of healthy-eating message in amongst all of that nice-guy moralizing. Showing the jiggle-bottomed star of the show easily out-sprinting a clearly-healthier character is hardly going to convince any budding young fatties out there to change their ways and head for the salad, is it?

Alternatives:

Pleasantville, The Brady Bunch Movie, The Flintstones

Summary

He’d be a great role model, if it wasn’t for the existence of pies.

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