Fat Albert and his Junkyard Gang should feel right at home when they magically emerge from a lonely girl’s television, because the real-world characters they encounter are as two-dimensional as they are. Doris (Kyla Pratt) is the high school outcast who Fat Albert is compelled to help, but as written, she is a pathetic downer who’s in giant need of a kick in the pants. Fat Albert is determined to help her make friends — and get a lil’ somethin’-somethin’ for himself. The big man falls for Doris’ smokin’ foster sister, Lauri (Dania Ramirez), and is torn between staying with Lauri and returning to ‘toon land. Packaged for a young audience, Fat Albert’s zestless kiddie humor squashes any nostalgic fondness for the original, and the result is anything but phat.
EXTRAS A Cosby-free commentary and a Behind the Music-inspired featurette. In their track, director Joel Zwick and producer John Davis brag that Cosby, who co-wrote the script with Charles Kipps, lent them creative freedom to do what they wanted with the film. And they thought that this was a good thing.