|Directed by||Nnegest Likké|
|Produced by||Robert F. Newmyer
Steven J. Wolfe
|Written by||Nnegest Likké|
|Music by||Stephen Endelman|
|Cinematography||John L. Demps, Jr.
|Editing by||Zack Arnold|
|Studio||Sneak Preview Entertainment|
|Distributed by||Fox Searchlight Pictures|
|Running time||99 minutes|
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (January 2012)|
Jazmin has always been overweight, unlike her skinny, popular cousin Mia. Jazmin wins a trip to Palm Springs for the weekend at a posh five-star resort. She and best friend Stacy find the first day at the spa embarrassing, as hotel robes don't fit, and the massage table is quite small for their curvaceous figures. They leave in frustration to join Mia, who has been ogling a Nigerian man swimming in the pool. He introduces himself as Tunde, but Jazmin is enraptured, too distracted to remember her own name. He and his friends find Jazmin and Stacy beautiful. However, they think Mia is so skinny that they wonder if she is sick. They invite the women out, with Tunde saying he has never seen such beautiful women in America.
The three women go with the men to a traditional Nigerian party, where Mia is told she needs to eat more. She storms out in anger because everyone there embraces "big and beautiful". Jazmin's infatuation with Tunde continues, while reserved Stacy is hit on by Tunde's friend Akibo. Pretty soon, they are much in carnal lust. Mia is frustrated because her cousin and her friend have both snagged rich Nigerian doctors and she is lonely.
Tunde treats Jazmin with the utmost respect, to the point she is afraid that he is not showing sexual interest. He tells her she is beautiful and should not change herself to please other people, other than cutting down on profanity because she is too classy for that. She says she will eventually get down to a size 5, but he comments that with her body structure, she can never be that small. He lets her know that in Nigeria, her shape, called "thick madame", is equated with wealth and highly respected. She attempts to embrace these concepts by pampering herself at the spa, even indulging in cookies. That night, she goes down to dinner by herself since Tunde is busy with a meeting. After heartily preparing her all-you-can-eat buffet meal, she walks into the dining room to see Tunde sitting with a thin blond woman. She confronts him about cheating on her. But he asks why she gets angry so easily, informing her that the blond woman is actually the president of the medical corporation that he had told her about. She is embarrassed and runs out. She has the girls leave the hotel and goes back home to her dull life as a saleswoman. She goes through a crisis, soon has a breakdown, and throws away her diet pills, size 5 clothing and spring-cleans her room. Jazmin finally accepts what Tunde told her about loving herself and embraces her body.
Although Jazmin is a talented designer, and the store's clothing line for plus-sized women is disappointing, her manager has repeatedly said that her designs are too amateur for the store buyer to be interested. Three large women enter and demand assistance in finding the clothing Jazmin is wearing. She sideswipes her manager and approaches the buyer, Robert, who compliments her dress. She is proud to point out that it is her own design. Robert is very pleased and leads her away for further discussion. Jazmin's career blossoms from a section in the store to a store of her own, and finally her Thick Madame clothing line goes nationwide. She holds a fashion show with plus-sized models, including the now more-confident Stacy.
One year later, she to travels to Nigeria to apologize to the man she realizes she loves. A woman opens the door holding a baby. Jazmin asks if she is Tunde's wife, and the woman agrees. Jazmin has the girls go to the taxi because she does not like to be rejected with an audience. She tells Tunde that he has changed her life, but she won't "be a homewrecker". Tunde clarifies that the woman is a maid, he delivered the baby, and the maid doesn't understand English. He says his prayers have been answered, as he has loved Jazmin all along. They kiss, and he promises to handle "all of her". Mia and Stacy also reunite with their partners, and they join Tunde's family for dinner. Mia piles food on her plate, stating that she wants to bulk up so she can find a rich Nigerian doctor as well. The film ends with Jazmin and Tunde in bed, while Jazmin insists on having the lights on.
- Mo'Nique as Jazmin Biltmore
- Jimmy Jean-Louis as Dr. Tunde Jonathan
- Godfrey as Akibo
- Kendra C. Johnson as Stacey
- Joyful Drake as Mia
- Dayo Ade as Godwin
- Felix Pire as Ramón
- Charles Duckworth as Jack
- Jack Noseworthy as Richard "Dick" Eklund
- Eric Roberts as Robert Myer
- Crystal Rivers as Aimee
In its opening weekend, the film grossed a total of $3,109,924 in the United States. As of July 9, the film has grossed a total of $7,061,128 in the United States. The film is considered to be successful because it made its $3 million production budget back in its first weekend of release. It only made $340,762 overseas and thus has only made $7,401,890 worldwide.
The film received mostly negative reviews, with Rotten Tomatoes reporting that out of 43 reviews, 10 were "Fresh" and 33 "Rotten", making for an overall 23% approval rating and the consensus: "Although Phat Girlz has good intentions, it is sloppily made and thin on laughs." The film has a slightly higher score of 36/100 on Metacritic, indicating "generally unfavorable" reviews. The San Francisco Chronicle praised the film, saying "Clumsily directed yet entertainingly written by Oakland native Nnegest Likké, Phat Girlz is like Rocky with cellulite. Or maybe Pretty Woman without all the bony butts. It has a lot of heart and soul, but it's almost never mean-spirited."
Variety magazine's Joe Leydon said that the film "feels torturously padded at an overlong 98 minutes", and also claims that the romance between Jazmin (Mo'Nique) and Tunde (Jean-Louis) is too drawn out, "quite possibly because writer-director Nnegest Likke has nothing else in her scenario to sustain audience interest". Entertainment Weekly gave the film a D grade, remarking that "Mo'Nique is fat. Almost every scene in Phat Girlz — the fancy z is for Z-grade — is about how she's fat", and concluding that "the movie reduces her to a single discernible characteristic, which is a telltale mark of many a wholly awful comedy."
- "Phat Girlz". San Francisco Chronicle, Hearst Corporation. Retrieved May 5, 2012.
- "Variety Reviews - Phat Girlz - Film Reviews - New U.S. Release - Review by Joe Leydon". Variety.com, Reed Elsevier. Retrieved May 5, 2012.
- "Phat Girlz Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 5, 2012.