Plot: What’s it about?
Doris (Kyla Pratt) is a cool girl, one who should have a lot of friends, but for some reason, she has trouble in that department. As she watches television, she starts to cry because she wants some friends so bad and when the tears hit the remote, her life changes forever. She was watching Fat Albert and his friends at the time, so when she cries, something magical and unexpected happens. Fat Albert (Kenan Thompson) and his whole gang somehow come through the television, right into her home. The shock is instant for both her and Albert’s crew, but soon enough, her story is told and the group wants to help. Albert and his buddies follow her everywhere, which means wherever she goes, fun is bound to happen. This helps her make new friends and at the same time, lets Albert and his friends explore the real world. But when Albert falls in love with Doris’ sister, will he able to return to the show or will he want to stay in the real world instead?
Hey, hey, hey! Its another unwanted, unneeded attempt to cash in on beloved television shows, with results that make you never want to go the movies again. The original cartoon with Fat Albert and his friends was fun, not the best of the animated lot, but a fun show. A nice moral was even involved in most episodes, so both parents and kids could be satisfied. As soon as I heard Fat Albert was due for motion picture status, I knew the project was doomed, as live action versions of cartoons rarely work at all. In this case, the movie has very little of the original show’s charm, though some humor is present. But the laughs are small ones, as we’ve seen all these jokes before in better movies. At least Kenan Thompson was given the title role, as he tries hard and does seem to be the sole logical choice to be Fat Albert. Fox’s disc is well crafted, but even so, the movie itself simply isn’t worth the cost of a purchase. But if your kids want a movie and they’ve seen most of the other options, then Fat Albert would make a decent rental.
Video: How does it look?
Fat Albert is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, with a full frame version included on the disc’s flip side. This is another great effort from Fox, who rarely disappoints on new releases. The print is in excellent condition, without even minor debris or grain to mention. No edge enhancement or other compression issues either, as usual with Fox. I found colors to be vivid and bold, with no signs of errors, while contrast is stark throughout, with well balanced black levels. The image has good depth also, so subtle detail is very evident. This is another superb effort from Fox, who even give bad movies great transfers.
Audio: How does it sound?
This is your basic dialogue driven comedic soundtrack, though a few bells & whistles knock it up a notch. I still wouldn’t mark this as a high end mix, even by normal comedy standards, but there is some life in the audio here. The included Dolby Digital 5.1 option puts the surrounds to use, but not that often and for the most part, this is a front channel experience. That is not a complaint however, as the overall presentation is terrific. I noticed a lot of effective channel separation, which adds a lot of depth to the material. No troubles with dialogue either, as vocals are well handled and have a clean, smooth presence. So not a dynamic soundtrack in terms of surround use, but a well crafted and more than passable treatment. This disc also includes Spanish and French language options, as well as subtitles in English and Spanish.
Supplements: What are the extras?
An audio commentary track is the main attraction, as director Joel Zwick and producer John Davis talk about the production. This proved to be an enjoyable session, as both have a lot to say and keep the track brisk, which is always good. In truth, I probably had more fun with this audio commentary track than the movie itself, which is sad, no doubt about it. This disc also includes a promotional featurette, a couple of extended sequences, and the film’s theatrical trailer.