Kenan Thompson as Fat Albert
Kyla Pratt as Doris
Shedrack Anderson III as Rudy
Jermaine Williams as Mushmouth
Keith Robinson as Bill
Alphonso McAuley as Bucky
Aaron Frazier as Old Weird Harold
Marques Houston as Dumb Donald
Dania Ramirez as Lauri
Omarion as Reggie
J. Mack Slaughter as Arthur
Rick Overton as Coach Gillespie
Keri Lynn Pratt as Heather
Alice Greczyn as Becky
For many people born since 1960, all you need to say is “Hey, hey, hey” to get them to instantly add, “It’s Fat Albert”. Director Joel Zwick’s live action adaptation of the 1970’s cartoon show gives a lot of respect to the people that loved it as a child.
The start of the film is an updated animated Fat Albert gang sequence followed by the live action introduction of the central character, Doris (Kyla Pratt). Doris has some problems at school and with a tear to the remote control she summons Fat Albert (Kenan Thompson) and the gang out of the TV and into her living room.
Fat Albert the movie is a simple morality tale, similar to many of the episodes of the original cartoon series. The moral this time is “be happy with who you are,” and it is told in a fairly straight forward fashion. Unlike many movies aimed at children, there are no jokes aimed over their heads at the parents in the audience, but the parents are not left out because much of the humor is based on the differences in the 70’s and the present. The film is rated PG but should probably have a G rating. It is safe for pretty much any audience.
The acting is cartoonish, but that is what is required. All of the gang is represented and through the course of the movie each one has their moment of glory. The film does not attempt to forget that it is based upon a cartoon show – it relishes in it. Not all of the jokes hit, and the updated rap theme song is a bit much, but it is all done light heartedly and is enjoyable more often than not.
Who should see this movie? Fans of the cartoon will get a big kick out of seeing the characters come to life. The story is a sweet one, and some questions the adults have had since their youth are answered. The action is all at young kid level, and the romance culminates in nothing more than a kiss. Fat Albert is a Saturday morning cartoon brought to life, and brought to life with a faithful respect for the source material. So, if you want anything more than you can see in a Saturday morning cartoon, you will need to look elsewhere. Overall, it is a fun and safe film for young audiences that will also entertain the parents who grew up watching the cartoon, but it probably will not win over any new adult fans.