Fat Albert (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Joel Zwick|
|Produced by||John Davis|
|Based on||Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids
by Bill Cosby
|Music by||Richard Gibbs|
|Edited by||Tony Lombardo|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Box office||$48.6 million|
Fat Albert is a 2004 live-action/animated fantasy romantic comedy film based on the Filmation animated series Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. The film was produced by Davis Entertainment for 20th Century Fox, and stars Kenan Thompson as the title character.
The plot surrounds Fat Albert and the gang leaving the cartoon world and entering the real world in order to help a teenage girl, Doris Robertson (Kyla Pratt), deal with the challenges of being unpopular, and not having any friends except her foster sister. Doris withdrew after the death of her grandfather, Albert Robertson, who was the real-life inspiration for the Fat Albert character. Fat Albert and the gang must show her that she is special and that she can make friends. But if Albert and his friends stay in the real world, they will turn to celluloid dust, and it is up to Bill Cosby to help them get them back into the cartoon world.
Unlike films that meld the cartoon world with the real world while at the same time keeping the cartoon characters two-dimensional (e.g., Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Space Jam, Looney Tunes: Back in Action), Fat Albert takes a twist and transforms the cartoon characters into three-dimensional humans, who have to come to grips with the differences that exist between their world and the real world.
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In real life, Doris Robertson (Kyla Pratt) is a depressed teenager still recovering from the death of her grandfather, and she is ignoring her foster sister Lauri's (Dania Ramirez) efforts to bring her a social life. Upon learning that her parents will be away for a two-day business trip to the Poconos, Doris sadly lets a tear hit her TV remote, as Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids is on. The tear opens up a portal between the TV world and the real world and Fat Albert jumps out of the TV, thinking she has a problem. Then, Rudy (Shedrack Anderson III), Dumb Donald (R&B singer Marques Houston), Mushmouth (Jermaine Williams), Bucky (Alphonso McAuley), and Old Weird Harold (Aaron Frazier) jump out of the TV. Bill (Keith Robinson) tells Russell (voice of Jeremy Suarez) to stay put and cover for them and jumps out of the TV. Doris insists that she is fine, but the gang wants to stay and the show ends and they have to wait until the next day's show to come back. They follow Doris to school the next day and are amazed by the new technology like cell phones, laptops, and the Internet.
Fat Albert also notices Lauri and falls in love with her. In another attempt to help Doris, the gang persuades some cheerleaders to invite them all to an outdoors party. With some reluctance, Doris agrees to attend. While they are there, Lauri dances with Fat Albert. Reggie (R&B singer Omarion Grandberry), an annoying classmate with an obsessive crush on Lauri, desperately attempts to make her jealous by dancing with Doris. When Lauri does not notice him, he tries to kiss Doris. Doris is offended and causes a scene. Doris runs from the party and Fat Albert warns the boy to stay away from Doris. The next day, Doris goes to school, but asks the gang to go to the park instead of following her. Weird Harold, normally very clumsy, joins in a basketball game and is able to play perfectly. Mushmouth, who cannot talk normally, is taught how to speak by a little girl. Dumb Donald goes to the library and is able to read and remove his pink face-covering hat.
When Doris gets them and takes them home and back to her TV, only three of the gang members, Bucky, Old Weird Harold and Dumb Donald (whose eyes float in the TV without the hat on and then puts it back on) jump into the TV, but the show ends before the other four can enter. Fat Albert and Bill have an argument in private about going back. Fat Albert wants to stay in the real world with Lauri, while Bill says otherwise. Meanwhile, Rudy has fallen in love with Doris and ask her if she would go out with him if he was a real person and she said yes. Searching for guidance, Fat Albert literally meets his creator Bill Cosby (who appears in a cameo) and tells him of the dilemma. Mr. Cosby tells him that his character is based on Doris' grandfather Albert Robertson which explains Doris' confusion over why Albert seems so familiar to her. Mr. Cosby then tells Fat Albert that he has to return to the TV, or he will turn into celluloid dust (as indicated by the faded color of their clothes). Devastated, Fat Albert tries to tell Lauri that he has to leave, but she does not believe he is from the TV and thinks that he is just being insensitive. The next day, Rudy, Bill, and Mushmouth jump back into the TV with Mushmouth starting to speak unclear again. Fat Albert waits and goes to the track meet, where Doris and Lauri are competing, encourages Doris to a victory, and rushes to the girls' home on a borrowed skateboard. Bill jumps back out of the TV to tell Albert to hurry up. Albert pushes him back in, says goodbye to Doris and Lauri (who now believes that Albert is from the TV) and jumps back into the TV.
Sometime later, Mr. Cosby and his friends (who were in his routines, then were characters in the show) stand in front of their old friend Albert Robertson's grave. It is then revealed that Albert died of severe complications of diabetes and obesity. As the camera pans on each of the men, images of their counterparts are seen, revealing, for instance, that Bill was inspired by Cosby himself. Doris watches them. The old men race away; they are still kids at heart, the same kids from the TV show that they helped Bill Cosby inspire.
Before the end credits start, Fat Albert is trying to leap out of the movie screen, but his pals are pulling him back. He points out that people in the audience need help and he even tells someone in the back of the theater that he/she needs to come back and finish watching the credits. The boys pull Fat Albert back inside and the end credits resume, beginning with the blend of both the animated characters' voices and the live-action characters singing the Fat Albert Theme Song.
- Kenan Thompson as "Fat" Albert Robertson
- Kyla Pratt as Doris Robertson
- Dania Ramirez as Lauri Robertson
- Shedrack Anderson III as Rudolph "Rudy" Davis
- Keith Robinson as William Bill Cosby
- Marques Houston as "Dumb" Donald Parker
- Jermaine Williams as James "Mushmouth" Mush
- Aaron Frazier as Old "Weird" Harold Williams
- Alphonso McAuley as Bucky Miller
- Bill Cosby as Himself
- Omarion as Reggie
- J. Mack Slaughter, Jr. as Arthur
- Alice Greczyn as Becky
- Rick Overton as Coach Gillespie
- Keri Lynn Pratt as Heather
- Dylan Cash as Emmitt
- Al Pacino as "Hot Dog Vendor" (uncredited)
- Aaron Carter as Darren (credited as "Teen")
- Fonzworth Bentley as Salesman (as Derek "Mr. Bentley" Watkins)
- Jeff Garlin as Jerry (uncredited)
- Joel Madden as Classmate with Mohawk (uncredited)
- Mase as Himself (archive footage)
- Nick Zano as Classmate
- Denise Richards as Saleswoman (appears in theatrical trailer, scenes deleted from the final cut)
- Jeremy Suarez as Russell Cosby
- Earl Billings as Mr. Mudfoot
- Raven-Symoné as Danielle
- Catero Colbert as Lead Teen
- Charles Duckworth as Teen #1
- Benjamin Diskin as Teen #2
- Josh Uhler as Teen #3
- Bill Ratner as Announcer
Fat Albert was released on VHS and DVD on March 22, 2005.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film received a rating 25%, based on 89 reviews, with the consensus reading, "A bland but good-natured adaptation of the cartoon show." On Metacritic, the film holds a score of 39 out of 100, based on 26 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".
The film grossed $48.6 million worldwide, against a $45 million budget.
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