You Gotta Have Friends
Release Date: December 25, 2004
Audience: All ages
Runtime: 93 minutes
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Director: Joel Zwick PRODUCER: John Davis
Address Comments To:Rupert Murdoch
Peter Chernin, President/COO
The Fox Group
Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopulos, Chairmen
Fox Filmed Entertainment
20th Century Fox Film Corp.
A division of Fox, Inc. and News Corp.
10201 West Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Phone: (310) 369-1000
The story opens with Doris Robertson, a lonely high school student who has no friends. Though she’s on the school track team, Doris feels unappreciated, especially compared to her popular foster sister, Lauri.
While watching the FAT ALBERT cartoon on TV, a tear runs down Doris’ cheek and lands on the TV remote. This magically opens some kind of tunnel between the real world and the cartoon world. As a result, Fat Albert suddenly can see Doris’ sad face in the sky. Good heart that he is, Albert decides he must help Doris with her problem. He pushes through the TV screen into her living room, pulling everyone except Bill’s little brother, Russell, into her world.
Now live action characters, Fat Albert and the gang try to solve Doris’ problem, but Doris is reluctant to let anyone into her life, especially a bunch of crazy, runaway cartoon characters. Slowly, Fat Albert breaks down her defenses, but things become more complicated when Fat Albert and his gang are themselves affected by the real world in unexpected ways. Fat Albert eventually decides he has to seek out his creator, Bill Cosby, to make everything work out all right.
FAT ALBERT is a very amusing and very clean family movie. Both children and adults will enjoy the story and characters, which are well defined and very appealing. Kenan Thomas as Fat Albert and the rest of his cartoon gang do a fine job of making a goofy concept seem real.
FAT ALBERT is not only an enjoyable family movie, it’s also a clever one. For example, the movie shows the impact that art can have on life and vice versa. Thus, Fat Albert and his gang literally jump through the TV set to affect the lives of Doris and her foster sister. This is a truth that MOVIEGUIDE®’s media-wise families have known for years, that the mass media of entertainment can have a strong impact, for good or ill, on children of all ages. This intelligent, media-wise theme comes powerfully to life in the movie’s final emotional shots, which will bring joyful tears to many media-wise moviegoers. Eventually, viewers are reminded that Bill Cosby based his characters on real-life people that he knows and loves. In other words, art imitates life, and life intimates art, and Dr. Cosby’s script brilliantly acknowledges and celebrates that fact.
FAT ALBERT contains one possible worldview problem. When Fat Albert goes to see Bill Cosby, Dr. Cosby mentions something about Albert being able to see Doris’ “spirit”. The line is a short throwaway line, however, so it was hard to tell at the time what kind of supernatural connection Dr. C was trying to make. It’s better, therefore, just to remind children that the story they are watching is just a fantasy, that there is no way, supernatural or otherwise, that cartoon characters can see or talk to anyone in the real world. Although cartoon characters are not real, they still can really have a big impact on your child’s world.
Surprisingly, FAT ALBERT is one of the most entertaining, most intelligent family movies of the year. It’s worth seeing more than once.
FAT ALBERT is a thoroughly delightful, funny, moral, clever, and intelligent movie that transcends its limitations. Both children and adults will enjoy the story and characters. Kenan Thomas as Fat Albert and the rest of his cartoon gang do a fine job of making a goofy concept seem real. Best of all, the script is a very media-wise script. It powerfully shows the effects that art and real life can have on one another.