Fat Albert is a 2004 American live-action/animated fantasy romantic comedy film based on the Filmation animated series of the same name created by Bill Cosby. The film was produced by Davis Entertainment for 20th Century Studios, and stars Kenan Thompson (better known for acting in Nickelodeon's Kenan & Kel) as the title character alongside Cosby himself in a key supporting role.
Animated character Fat Albert (Kenan Thompson) emerges from his TV universe into the real world, accompanied by Old Weird Harold (Aaron Frazier), Dumb Donald (Marques B. Houston) and Mushmouth (Jermaine Williams). Though the gang is flabbergasted by the modern world, they make new friends, and Albert attempts to help young Doris (Kyla Pratt) become popular. But things get complicated when Albert falls for her older sister, Lauri (Dania Ramirez), and must turn to creator Bill Cosby for advice.
- Extremely weak story that has cartoon characters Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids emerge from the TV world into the real world by a single tear of the teenager, Doris Robertson, touching a TV remote.
- Poor acting from actors like rapper Omarion, and outside of the main cast with the exception of Kenan Thompson and the supporting cast as the Cosby Kids (see GQ #1).
- Slightly poor grasp of the source material. For example: in the cartoon, the stories take place in the 1970s. In this movie, however, most of the scenes take place in modern North Philadelphia.
- Poor attempts at humor.
- The movie somehow never explains why Doris' tear opened up a portal to the cartoon world, it only happens because Fat Albert needed to enter the real world somehow.
- Not only are the characters bland and uninteresting, but also don't behave like their original counterparts or designs.
- The scene where Fat Albert leaps out of the TV is portrayed less like a whimsical moment and more like something from a horror movie, particularly from how the music is orchestrated and how Doris screams in absolute terror.
- Though the animated segments are a plus, they aren't drawn in the exact same style as in the cartoons, which gave the original series its unique yet stilted charm.
- Some of the songs aren't that good nor well-sung.
- Many references to popular culture.
- Uses product placements Forever 21, White Diamond, Rochester Big & Tall, Sam Goody, Top Skater Sega, Peg Perego, Quicksilver, LA Gear, WDAS-FM, ECKO and USA TODAY.
- Misleading Title: Despite being called Fat Albert, the first half of the movie mostly focuses on Doris and her high school friends.
- Kenan Thompson did a good job playing Fat Albert (both live-action and animated) and the supporting cast were decent as his friends, mainly the Cosby kids.
- The ending is pretty good and touching.
- The theme from the original show was used, though remixed, and the rendition at the start and end of the movie is pretty good.
- A pretty heartfelt quote by Fat Albert himself: "You can't let fear keep you from caring about someone because, caring about someone is wonderful."
- As mentioned above, the animated segments are wonderfully smooth and improve the original television series with the same charisma, despite what BQ #9 says; this is reinforced especially since the animation was done by Disney veteran Eric Goldberg.
Fat Albert received mixed-to-negative reviews from critics and audiences alike, and currently holds a 23% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 89 reviews, with a general critic consensus that states: "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," as well as a 4.3/10 on IMDb.
The film grossed $48.1 million in the United States and a total of $48.6 million worldwide, against a $45 million budget.
- Bill Cosby wrote the movie alongside with Charles Kipps and plays as himself.
- This was also the final released film Bill Cosby has starred in before he went to prison in 2018. Additionally, an unreleased stand-up comedy film featuring Cosby titled Bill Cosby 77 was scheduled to be released on Netflix on November 28, 2014, but was cancelled following his arrest and eventually his conviction.
- The film is the last product to come out of the Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids franchise. Since the release of the film, there have been no attempts to continue the franchise, especially since Bill Cosby's sexual assault allegations and eventually his imprisonment, and DreamWorks Animation (which currently owns the rights to the show, along with most of the Filmation shows) basically ignores the franchise.