Fat Albert

Fat Albert came into being in the comedic routines of Bill Cosby. Later, he became a cartoon staple along with the Cosby Kids. It was Cosby's way of using cartoons to teach children good lessons. Now, he comes to life in a new movie, for a whole new generation of children. Fat Albert has a very nostalgic feel to it. This is not always a good thing. The movie feels trapped in a time warp, when things were simpler. Today's world is a lot more complicated, and kids are growing up faster and dealing with more complex issues. The movie is a little disappointing. It is one of the few PG movies released today for children with very few toilet jokes. It does teach a good lesson. But it feels so naive and simplistic that few except the very young will enjoy it.

Most of the jokes in the script by Cosby (Leonard Part 6) and Charles Kipps deals with Fat Albert (Kenan Thompson, Barbershop 2, Love Don't Cost a Thing) and friends dealing with things in the real world. They have no idea about cell phones, DVDs, and soda cans. They jumped out of their cartoon into the real world to help Doris (Kyla Pratt, Doctor Dolittle 2, Love & Basketball) find a friend. Yes, the main concern in the movie is about a young lonely girl. Again, nice story, but hopelessly naive. In a way, this is what Joel Zwick, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Second Sight) is looking for. Albert and friends only know how they are. The way they act is so strange (but good-natured) that it amazingly works.

While this does not quite work, the casting is spot on. Thompson does a great vocal impersonation, and Dumb Donald (Marques Houston, You Got Served, Good Burger), Weird Harold (Aaron Frazier, House of Sand and Fog), Bill (Keith Robinson, Mimic 3), Mushmouth (Jermaine Williams, Bulworth, The Beat), Bucky (Alphonso McAuley), and Rudy (Shedrack Anderson III, Warriors of Virtue 2, Thank Heaven) are all great. They really look like real-life versions of their cartoon counterparts. On this note, the script does have the real world affect these cartoons. The longer they stay, the more they begin to fade away. Dumb Donald gets smarter, Mushmouth becomes intelligible. All of a sudden, they face a dilemma - they are becoming more like normal people, but they need to return to the junkyard lest they disappear completely.

For Fat Albert, this is much worse. His primary concern is that he help Doris, but he also finds himself attracted to Doris' foster sister Lauri (Dania Ramirez, She Hate Me, Little Black Boot). These emotions are entirely new to Albert, and he has to juggle between his wanting to spend time with Lauri, helping Doris, and doing what's best for his other friends. Yes it's a nice lesson, but the pacing is slow and again, the entire thing feels hopelessly dated.

Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 40 minutes, Rated PG for momentary language.

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