Fat Albert

Release Date: December 25, 2004

Depressed about his career, Cuba Gooding Jr. has been consoling himself with Twinkies.

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Some time after Bill Cosby became an International Tennis Coach of Mystery on "I Spy", but before he became the sweater-wearing Dr. Hibbert prototype and ubiquitous snack-food pitchman that we know today, he created and voiced the Saturday morning cartoon series Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. This animated series, loosely based upon Cos's childhood growing up on the mean streets of Philadelphia, featured a rag-tag gang of street kids with wacky speech impediments and a rather eclectic approach to fashion. Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids was enormously popular in its time, running for 12 straight years from 1972 to 1984. In fact, the show has become so established in pop culture that it has inspired subplots on several major sitcoms (including a lively debate as to whether it was Mushmouth or Donald who wore that stylin', face-obscuring pink hat), as well as a hilarious Behind the Music-style exposé on Saturday Night Live.

Each weekly episode had a simple, positive moral lesson for kids (e.g., "Ain't No a Fool Like a Fool Playin' Hooky", "Don't Let Strange Dudes Pay You Money for Delivering Small, Brown Paper Bags to Run-Down Apartment Buildings, Because Those Guys Probably Ain't Running a Ham Sandwich Delivery Service"), as well as a Very Special Song by the Junkyard Band. Come to think of it, you could argue that Cos was original creator of the prefabricated boy band. Work with me here--Donald is the shy one with a secret smack habit, Rudy is the flashy one of dubious sexual preference, Russell is the boyish, innocent one with a diaper fetish. Plus, they don't actually play real instruments! My God, the current state of the pop charts all Cos's fault!! Damn him! Damn him to hell!!!!

Anyway...moving on, Cosby and screenwriter Charles Kipp have reportedly finished the script for a live-action, feature-length version of the cartoon, which will be executive-produced by Cosby and his wife, Camille, under the auspices of 20th Century Fox. The plot is rumored to revolve around the cartoon characters stepping out of the television and into the modern-day world to help Doris, a smart, sensitive little girl who is having trouble fitting in at school. In the process of trying to help Doris, Fat Albert falls in love with her sister Lauri and considers leaving the tv world forever to be with her. In the age-old lament of gangs of guys everywhere, the rest of the Cosby Kids then accuse Fat Albert of ditching his lifelong buddies for a piece of tail. ("You've changed, man! The Fat Albert I knew would never miss the Buck Buck Championship to have Sunday brunch with some chick's mama.") Presumably, everyone eventually learns something about loving themselves and keeping it real.

Production was originally slated to begin some time in 2002, with talented actor/director Forest Whitaker originally signed to direct. However, Cosby and Whitaker fell out over the usual euphemistic "creative differences." (I'm guessing Whitaker finally realized how craptastic Cosby's "cartoon characters become real" premise sounded.) Whitaker has been replaced by Joel Zwick who, as we saw from his overrated debut film My Big Fat Greek Wedding, has no philosophical objections to bringing the suck. Nickelodean channel staple Kel Thompson (Barbershop 2, Good Burger) has been cast as the hero whose heart is as big as his belly.

Cosby's feature-film track record has previously been spotty at best (not even Camille saw Leonard, Part 6), and most cartoons-to-films such as Rocky and Bullwinkle and Josie and the Pussycats haven't fared much better. However, the original cartoon had considerable crossover appeal and enjoys a certain nostalgic fondness among the Scooby Doo era crowd. Plus, we assume that the movie will be marketed as a family film, which certainly helped the Scooby Doo movies do a lot better business than they deserved to. (Jennifer Turnock/BOP)

Vital statistics for Fat Albert
Main Cast Kenan Thompson, Omarion, Aaron Frazier
Supporting Cast Raven Symone, Jermaine Williams, Jeremy Suarez, Aaron Frazier, Kyla Pratt, Keith Robinson, Aaron Carter, Dania Ramirez, Nick Zano, Derek Watkins, Alice Greczyn
Director Joel Zwick
Screenwriter Bill Cosby, Charles Kipps
Distributor Twentieth Century Fox
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site http://www.fatalbertthemovie.com/index_flash.html
Rating PG
Running Time 93 minutes
Screen Count 2,674
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture

Comparison films for Fat Albert
Adjusted Opening
Total BO
Adjusted Total
Scooby-Doo 6/14/0254.16 56.31 3447 15712.00 15712.0 153.29 159.37 2.83
Flintstones, The * 5/27/9437.18 54.94 2498 14884.00 21158.6 130.53 192.91 3.51
Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed 3/26/0429.44 29.44 3312 8888.38 8888.4 84.19 84.19 0.00
Casper * 5/26/9522.09 30.62 2714 8139.00 10852.0 100.33 139.07 4.54
Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, The 4/28/0010.52 11.76 3040 3461.00 3724.3 35.23 39.41 3.35
Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, The 6/30/006.81 7.61 2458 2771.00 2981.8 26.00 29.08 3.82
Josie and the Pussycats 4/13/014.56 4.86 2556 1784.00 1831.4 14.25 15.20 2.79
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 8/2/023.00 3.11 657 4569.00 4569.0 241.41 250.99 68.02



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