Australian Council on Children and the Media

Fat Albert

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Short takes

Parental guidance under 5s (Scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Fat Albert
  • a review of Fat Albert completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 20 April 2005.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Some children under the age of five might need some parental guidance when seeing this movie.
Children over the age of 5 Children over the age of five should be okay to see this movie with or without parental guidance

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Fat Albert
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: None
Length 93 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

High school student Doris (Kyla Pratt) is mourning the death of her grandfather. She is no longer interested in sport, which she was very good at, or going to parties. Her stepsister Laurie (Dania Ramirez) is more outgoing and gets invited to Heather’s (a cheerleader at school and one of the popular girls) birthday party but Doris isn’t invited. Doris goes home from school and is crying while watching Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids on TV. Somehow her tears reach through the remote control and Fat Albert knows she needs his help. Along with several of his pals Fat Albert (Keenan Thompson) arrives in Doris’s lounge through the television as real people.

Fat Albert is determined to help Doris, and manages to get her invited to the party. Doris reluctantly goes with Fat Albert and crew but doesn’t really enjoy herself. Fat Albert finds himself attracted to Laurie while Rudy (Shedrack Anderson III), takes a liking to Doris. Fat Albert and crew are enjoying their life in the real world but unfortunately discover that they are fading with time. Doris finds herself slowly warming to Fat Albert and pals and starts to come out of her shell. The gang decide it’s time to return to television land before they fade completely but Fat Albert decides he must stay and encourage Doris to run in a race at school at the risk of fading away. Doris wins the race for her team which helps her regain her self confidence however they now have to race against time to get Fat Albert back into the television.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is a small amount of violence in this movie:

  • in the cartoon that runs in parallel to the ‘real’ movie, a small boy in a junk yard is being terrorised by the ‘buck-buck champion’. The buck-buck champion hits the boy, pushes him off a swing and makes him hide in an old car. The boy then manages to trip him up and jumps on him.
  • at the end of the movie when Fat Albert is trying to get back in time, he borrows a skateboard which he rides really fast down steps knocking people out of the way. He crashes into market stalls and crash lands on Doris’s door step.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

Some children in this age bracket could be scared by the above-mentioned scenes. In addition they could be disturbed by:

  • the cartoon characters coming out of the television set and turning into real people.
  • Fat Albert getting stuck in the middle of the television set as he comes out. He has to be pushed and pulled to get out.
  • Some children under the age of eight may also be disturbed by Doris being sad and depressed at the death of her grandfather.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Young children in this age group may also be scared or disturbed by the scenes mentioned above.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

It is unlikely that children in this age group will be scared or disturbed by scenes in this movie.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

It is unlikely that children in this age group will be scared or disturbed by scenes in this movie.

Sexual references

None of concern.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is no nudity or sexual activity in this movie. One of the cartoon character’s clothes fade so much that his bottom is exposed, although it is not actually shown.

Use of substances

None of concern.

Coarse language

None of concern.

In a nutshell

The movie’s message is to believe in yourself and not to try to be someone you’re not.

Values parents may wish to encourage include:

  • Empathy
  • Friendship
  • Care and concern
  • Selflessness
  • Belief in one’s self

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