"Fat Albert," the product of a collaboration between Bill Cosby and "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" director Joel Zwick, just made it easier. The movie opens in theaters Saturday.
Drawing from the 1970s and '80s cartoon shows "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids" and "The New Fat Albert Show" – themselves based on characters and stories from the comedian's childhood – Cosby and Zwick were smart enough to know not to contemporize the character's personalities in an attempt to make them easier for today's audiences to identify with.Instead, Fat Albert (Kenan Thompson) and his friends, including Mushmouth (Jermaine Williams), Rudy (Shedrack Anderson III) and Dumb Donald (Marques B. Houston), take an unexpected journey from their animated North Philadelphia neighborhood into the real world.
Doris (Kyla Pratt), a lonely, troubled fan, catches a rerun of "Fat Albert" after school.
Depressed over the recent loss of a loved one and some troubles at home and school, she starts to cry, gaining Fat Albert's attention.Inadvertently, she opens a portal into the real world for her animated heroes, who cross over to try to help her and wind up learning a little bit about the three-dimensional world in the bargain.
The script, by Cosby and Charles Kipps, continues the "Fat Albert" TV show's formula of emphasizing age-appropriate life lessons into entertainment with a positive message without being preachy or saccharine.
The actors playing the live-action incarnations of the show's characters do them justice. Besides Thompson, standouts include Williams as Mushmouth, the member of Fat Albert's gang with a speech impediment, and Houston as Dumb Donald, the guy with the huge hat that covers half his face – for good reason, as we find out.
Special DVD Features:
-Commentary by Joel Zwick and Jon Davis
-Fat Albert: Behind the Band Featurette
-Special Extended Scenes