Home Arts-Entertainment Movies Hey, Hey, Hey! Cosby's Fat Albert Hits the Big Screen

Hey, Hey, Hey! Cosby's Fat Albert Hits the Big Screen


Jan. 6, 2005 – As a single tear from a bereft teenager falls on a TV screen, it opens a window to a TV gang which jumps out of the set and into the living room of Philadelphia adolescent Doris (Kyla Pratt).
Headed by "Fat Albert" (Kenan Thompson in a blown-up fat suit), the star of Bill Cosby's 1970s animated TV show, the old Philadelphia junkyard gang determine to cheer up Doris. However, they have some adjusting to do to the real world.
Doris is less than thrilled by this strange bunch. For one thing, she is feeling very unpopular. There is a party down the street, and she has not been invited, and the last thing she wants is for anyone to see her with this unseemly group of cartoon characters.
As for Fat Albert's gang, they have problems of their own. They don't know how to cope with the real world, but when they try to jump back into the TV set, they realize they can jump back only into their own program, which won't reappear until the next day. And on top of everything else, the kids' costumes start to fade before they can retreat to the safety of TV-land.
Anyhow, this makes for some funny, and some not so funny, situations, as the gang discovers that a "Hey, hey, hey" and a sing-along don't make problems disappear like in the old days.
Robert K. Elder in the Chicago Tribune wonders about those old days. He says though he has a "deep affection" for Cosby's comedy records, and grew up with the cartoons, he wonders "who the audience might be for Bill Cosby's nostalgia project, given that the original characters appeared on TV from 1972 to 1984. Even children exposed to the tail end of its run would be 21 or older—definitely not the target audience for this film. The animated series doesn't even run on television anymore."
Wesley Morris, in the Boston Globe, wonders why director Joel Zwick, who did the inordinately successful "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," doesn't enliven the action here. And he wonders why Cosby doesn't have his innocent gang "stand up the toxic, blinged, hip-hop culture that bugs Cosby so?" Cosby shares screen-writing credit with Charles Kipps and is the movie's executive producer.
Morris was referring to Cosby recent public appearances denouncing the African-American community for not taking responsibility for its children, for its rates of juvenile delinquency, its parenting, the coarse language of its youth.
However, let's get back to "Fat Albert." It may not be a perfect movie, but Cosby is firmly embedded in the hearts and minds of many of us who grew up watching the Philadelphia gang, and some of us will want our kids to enjoy "Fat Albert." Kids are notoriously generous critics.
It runs one hour and 40 minutes and is rated PG for "momentary language," whatever that may be.
It is playing at Market Square East.
Click here for schedule.


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