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Fat Albert (2004) - Plot Summary Poster

(2004)

Plot

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Summaries

  • Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids come to life and step out of their animated, inner-city Philadelphia world.

  • An obese boy named Fat Albert and his friends Rudy, Mushmouth, Bill, Dumb Donald, Russell, and Weird Harold, pulls into trouble when they "fall" out of their TV world into the real world, where Fat Albert tries to help a young girl, Doris, make friends. However, the simple life of the group is interrupted when Fat Albert falls for Doris' older sister, Lauri, sparking his friends to worry that their leader may never want to return to his cartoon world again.

  • Fat Albert and the rest of the Cosby Kids are living happily in their animated world of Philadelphia when one day, a young teen cries on her remote control because she doesn't have any friends. Fat Albert and his gang then magically come out of her TV and enter the real Philadelphia! They decide-being such good kids-to help the teen make friends. Albert then falls in love with the girl's beautiful foster sister-but oh, no! If Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids stray from their TV world, they begin to fade away! Will Albert be able to return home after enlisting the help of Bill Cosby himself, or will he and his gang vanish forever? Go and see to find out!

  • When Doris Robertson's (Pratt) tear hits her television remote, Fat Albert (Thompson) and the Cosby Kids come diving out of the television during their show. They have to wait until the next day for them to go back into the TV, so they join Doris everywhere she goes including school and at a party. There are animated sequences during the movie that show Russell (Suarez) running and trying to save the junkyard from another gang. But when Fat Albert falls head over heels with Doris' foster sister Lauri (Ramirez), he decides he doesn't want to go back into the TV.


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • After a modernized opening of the 1970's cartoon Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, the live-action part of the movie opens to Ardsley High School. Doris Robertson's foster sister Laurie catches her in the hallway and invites her to ice cream before midday track practice. Doris backs out, claiming she has to go home to get her track shoes. Two of Laurie's friends, Heather and Becky interrupt, reminding her of a party they invited her to that night, but they act awkward seeing Doris. After they leave, a tough track star and annoying student named Reggie happens along with his sidekick Arthur, and asks Laurie out to the party. She rejects him, so Reggie turns to Doris. Doris claims she wasn't invited, surprising Reggie and Arthur, and she runs off home.

    Arriving there, Doris finds a note that her father is on a business trip and her mother won't be back until much later. Doris turns on the TV to find the show Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids playing. As she watches Fat Albert give advice to Danielle, asking her not to run away from home because people care about her, Doris begins to cry. A tear hits the remote, creating a link between Fat Albert's world and the real world. He and the gang become surprised and stop acting in the cartoon to watch the tear fall into their world, completing the link and creating a portal between the universes.

    Fat Albert sees Doris crying, and decides he's going to help her. His friends discourage him, but Albert knows better, and he attempts to jump through the portal. He gets stuck, and the others try to pull him back out, but he falls through into Doris's world. She stands there stunned as the rest of the gang jumps through, and they are all equally shocked at their new, 3-D appearances. When Albert asks Doris what happened, she tries to make them think she just lost her backpack, so as to get them back in the TV as quickly as possible; unfortunately, the show has ended, and they can't get inside. Doris reluctantly agrees that they'll have to stick with her, as the program won't be on again until 2:30 the next day.

    Doris heads back toward the school with the gang in tow, and they draw surprised looks from passerby. Albert claims the neighborhood looks familiar. Two of Doris's friends, Cody and Jerry, seem confused by Fat Albert and his friends, and Doris tries to part ways with them, but their feelings are hurt; reluctantly she decides to let them stick with her. Fat Albert deduces that Doris's problem is not having friends, but she quickly rebuffs his idea to find some for her.

    Doris and the gang arrive at school, and she tells her teacher Mrs. Forchick that they're visitors. Mrs. Forchick asks the boys to introduce themselves, and is surprised to hear that they're "visiting" from North Philadelphia, since that's where they already are. Fat Albert suddenly realizes the reason the town looks familiar is because it was designed the same way in the cartoon as in real life, down to the neighborhood. As the class settle in, Albert and the gang are confused by the laptops sitting on the desks, wondering what the technology is.

    After class, Doris heads toward the track with the gang, and Fat Albert spots Laurie while Doris talks to them. When she walks off to get ready for the Archers' practice, Albert meets Laurie and seems infatuated with her. Doris quickly spots them and frantically tries to separate them, but Reggie butts in, seeing Albert as competition against him for Laurie. He and Arthur tease Albert about his weight, but Albert challenges him to a race, which Reggie laughs at, thinking there's no way he can lose. Albert starts off slowly, but impossibly speeds up until he's going faster than Reggie, winning by seconds. Sore at his defeat, Reggie snarls at him one last time before departing, and the Archers coach calls Doris and Laurie over to the team.

    Lost in his affections for Laurie, Albert wanders the neighborhood with the gang, who try to keep him focused on Doris's problem, but Bill becomes distracted by an advertisement for their cartoon in a shop window across the street. They all quickly wander over to investigate it, and Bill, seeing the difference, becomes worried that they don't belong in the real world. Before they can get too deep into the conversation, Rudy spots cheerleaders from the high school nearby, and the gang excitedly goes to meet them, realizing that if they were friends with Doris it would help her become more popular.

    Heather and Becky are leading the cheerleader group, and when Albert addresses them, they invite him and the gang to their party, agreeing that they can bring Doris along. They happily go to tell Doris the good news. She's initially shocked, but after encouragement from the boys, Doris agrees to go with them, and she takes them to the mall to go shopping for the party.

    At the mall, the gang is even more surprised by the advanced technology. Bill and Donald find an arcade and become happily immersed, and Bill is surprised when the skateboarding game Donald is playing speaks to him. Mushmouth and Harold listen to a musical demo, but are shocked at the language they hear in the song, and quickly run off. They have their picture taken by a photographer demonstrating the newest technology. Albert, Rudy and Bucky hang around the clothes department with Doris. When Albert and Bucky go to check out the men's section, they're found by a smooth-talking salesman who reels Albert in with a free hat. He puts Albert through various fancy outfits, complimenting his appearance. Unfortunately, when Albert and Bucky are at the checkout counter, the sale rings up as much more than they would have expected, since they don't understand the concept of inflation, and they can't afford it. The huffy salesman carries the merchandise back to the department.

    Albert and Bucky find a jump-roping show, and Albert is excited to see it. He enters the scene and dances around inside the ropes, drawing cheers from the crowd. Doris sees him and happily joins in, showing amazing talent like his. When he asks her where she learned her amazing skills, she claims it was something her grandfather showed her. They all head home, chattering happily about the new things they've discovered.

    Back at the house, Fat Albert and the gang are watching rap on TV, enjoying the new style of music, but when they realize how much fun they had, and no "creator" had to write that it would happen like in their cartoon, Bill again becomes worried about the rules of this world and how they shouldn't be there. Harold shows Bill the photo of him and Mushmouth, realizing they appeared more colorful there, but Albert dismisses this theory since the snapshot is just enhanced by digital technology. Doris suddenly appears, having finished changing, and the boys are all mesmerized by her appearance, which makes her shy but pleased.

    When they arrive at the party, Albert and Laurie talk alone for a bit, and he nervously runs off to grab her a soda. He notices Doris hanging around at the edge of the party and encourages her to come in. Before they can talk much, Reggie interrupts the DJ by announcing that he's brought Fat Albert as a treat for the partygoers. He calls Albert up to the stage, hoping he'll embarrass himself, but Albert shocks him by singing a song. The DJ plays a rhythm that Albert belts out his theme to, dancing along with the other boys. The crowd finds them amazing, much to Reggie's annoyance.

    Doris sits with Rudy, and he itches to ask her to dance but doesn't know how. He's disappointed when Reggie approaches and asks Doris to dance, but he's only trying to make Laurie jealous since she's dancing with Albert. Reggie tries to kiss Doris, but she angrily brushes him off and leaves the party. Rudy and Albert confront him, but Albert asks Rudy to check on Doris. He warns Reggie off, backed up by the rest of the gang, and after becoming hesitant, Reggie leaves the party. Rudy finds Doris and tries to console her, but she runs into the house, claiming that she was just fine without the gang.

    Albert walks home with Laurie, learning that she wants to be a writer and is driven by the passion of having lost her parents. When they arrive at her house, she calls him her BFF and kisses him on the cheek before going inside. Happy, Albert begins dancing along the sidewalk. Inside the house, Laurie happily comments about Albert, but she reprimands Doris for her recent behavior.

    In the morning, Doris finds the gang outside the house, surprised at how early they arrived. She tells them that if they go back to the school with her, people may get suspicious about them, and they seem to understand. She tells them about a local park they might find interesting, but then she becomes confused, realizing they seem to have changed in appearance overnight. They appear pale, almost sick. When she leaves for school, Bill becomes frantic at her comment, telling the gang that they must be fading away. They agree, but realize they can't do anything about it until 2:30. They head for the park, singing along the way in the new style of rap that they've learned.

    Arriving at the park, the boys become excited and split up. Rudy finds some exercise equipment and begins working out vigorously; Harold shows skills and reflexes at basketball he never had before; Mushmouth says hello to a little girl who teaches him how to speak properly. When they congregate later, they're all surprised by the new things they're discovering about themselves. Donald heads for the school library, where he begins reading about African American history at the speed of several pages per minute. Doris finds him, surprised to see he's already gotten through over twenty volumes, and tells him it's time to go. He takes off his hat, and she's surprised to see his face for the first time, but her compliment overjoys him, and he runs from the library chanting happily about it.

    The rest of the gang stops in front of the school; one of Doris's classmates Darren finds Rudy, and shows him how he's switched to Rudy's style of dressing. Rudy's happy to see it, but Darren becomes confused at the lack of color in Rudy's clothes, and the others look at themselves, seeing the same difference. Bill realizes his hand has become slightly transparent, and the others see the same thing in their own hands, becoming scared. Bucky accidentally slides down the concrete railing, ripping the back of his pants off, and the gang quickly huddle around him to hide it from the public. They all go to the junkyard, which looks much different from the one in their world. Albert tries painting Bucky's pants back on, but realizes paint doesn't work that way here. Doris finds the boys there and takes them back to her house.

    When Doris turns on the program, everyone is shocked to see Bill's little brother Russel being terrorized by the gang's rivals, who believe Fat Albert and the others are never going to return; they're attempting to take over the show. Bucky, Harold and Donald jump back into the TV (with Donald realizing his face doesn't exist in the cartoon since it was never drawn on through his hat), but the rest of them are interrupted by a news broadcast. Albert doesn't seem too worried, reminding them that he hasn't solved Doris's problem yet, but Bill realizes he's too infatuated with Laurie to want to return at all even when he's done helping Doris. Doris insists that she doesn't have a problem, and Bill tells Albert that his own problem of limited time is too prominent to ignore. Laurie suddenly arrives as the boys begin arguing, and she asks if they want to attend the fair that night since she's gotten tickets. Albert happily agrees, and the boys meet at the junkyard again to talk about it. Albert stresses that he just wants one last night to be with Laurie. He leaves to go pick up Laurie from the library, and the rest of the boys, feeling bad for him, decide to help that last night be one they'll all remember.

    They construct a party car out of an old scrapped vehicle, and take the girls in it to the fair, where Albert and Laurie have a great time on the different rides and games. Rudy tells Albert how he should take Laurie on the roller coaster, since girls are usually scared and hold onto the guys for support. Albert tries this, but he's the one who is terrified while Laurie screams happily, enjoying the ride. While everyone takes a short break, a young boy finds Albert and recognizes him. He urges Albert to return to his world and save Russel, and he stresses that all the kids who watch his show want him back. He tells Albert about Bill Cosby, and Albert decides to go see the man, realizing he might be able to help Albert figure out what to do.

    When he arrives at Mr. Cosby's place, Albert initially forgets that he's traveled thirty years into the future, and thinks the man he sees is Mr. Cosby's father. After initially shocking Mr. Cosby into fainting, Albert helps him recover, after which Mr. Cosby expresses his shock at the situation Albert is in. He asks how Albert entered this world, and Albert tells him about hearing Doris cry and going through the TV set to help her. Mr. Cosby tells Albert that he designed Albert's character after Doris's late grandfather Albert Robertson, and that perhaps this connected him to her, enabling him to find her when she needed him. Albert tries to tell Mr. Cosby that he doesn't want to return to his world, but Mr. Cosby stresses that he must do so, or he will eventually turn into celluloid dust. That fact makes Albert realize Bill was right the whole time about the gang not being real in this world.

    Albert visits Laurie and tries to explain the situation to her, but she becomes hurt and thinks he's going crazy. Doris backs Albert up, but Laurie denies the whole thing, telling her she believes Albert and his friends might be part of a cult. She tries to forget the whole thing, as the girls have a track meet tomorrow with a relay race by the Archers, so they go to sleep.

    The next morning, after the girls go to the meet, Albert and the other boys turn on the set to return to their world. Mushmouth finds that his newfound speech disappears when he returns, and Rudy tells Doris that he hopes to come back to the real world someday and see her. She smiles and tells him she'll be waiting. When he jumps into the TV however, Reggie and Arthur, standing outside the house, see this happen through the window and are horrified by the discovery. Bill goes into the TV last, and Albert takes a moment alone with Doris to give her some encouragement. She claims she recognizes him, and feels like she's known him for a long time. He hugs her and then sends her off to the track, but then he picks up the TV remote, revealing that he isn't ready to return yet. The boys plead with him, reminding him that he won't be able to make it through the rest of the day, but Albert sees his duty before returning home and turns off the TV, then runs to the school.

    By the time he arrives there, he's greatly exhausted most of his strength, appearing much more faded and pale than when he left the house, and his appearance draws some concerned eyes. He stops at the edge of the racetrack, so weak he can hardly stand, and sees Laurie run past him in the relay race. She passes her baton to Doris, who keeps speed with the other runners until about halfway through the track, then begins to fall behind. Albert, regaining some strength, joins the racers and runs next to Doris, encouraging her on to victory. Even after she outdistances him, she hears his voice echoing, telling her she can win, and she runs faster, passing the other racers and winning the match.

    Laurie runs to her, celebrating with the team, but Doris quickly runs off with Laurie to find Albert. They find him in front of the concessions, leaning against a table, unable to stand up fully. Laurie is confused by his condition, but Reggie and Arthur appear before they can take Albert home. Reggie announces to the surrounding crowd that Albert is a phony, but they don't seem to take him seriously. Reggie confronts Albert angrily, but Albert picks him up by the shirt and rumbles threateningly to him to get out of their way. Reggie nervously agrees and runs off. Doris takes Arthur's skateboard and the girls help Albert onto it, knowing he'd never be able to walk back on his own, but they accidentally lose control of him. He rolls down a staircase and crashes into several different people on the school grounds. Leaving the campus, he barely manages to weave his way through town, rolling along the sidewalks and disturbing people outside of a diner. He finally crashes through a flower stand, crosses the street with a ninety degree turn around a light pole, and lands on the front porch of Doris's house.

    The girls catch up to him, and he picks the flowers off of his head and gives them to the girls. They help him inside and Doris turns on the TV; Bill jumps halfway out of the set to encourage Albert back in, and then Albert helps him get back through. Laurie is overwhelmed by the sight, but Albert apologizes for hurting her feelings the other night. She asks him if he will ever come back, and he tells her he knows he'll find a way. Doris tells him she finally realizes he reminds her of her grandpa. He tells Doris he loves her, and then he goes back into the TV set. He gets stuck again, and the girls help him through, just in time for him to return to the same program that was originally disrupted by the real world connection.

    In the program, Albert returns to the part where he's talking to Danielle, reminding her that people care about her. At first he gets the words mixed up, but then, remembering what he said once to Laurie, he tells Danielle how wonderful it is for any person to know that someone out there is thinking about them. Laurie realizes that even inside the cartoon, Albert is still conscious of his trip to the real world, and remembers her; as he finishes his sentence, he turns around and smiles at her through the TV. She is reassured that he will keep his promise to her.

    A few weeks later, Doris meets Mr. Cosby, and he introduces her to some of his own friends--who she realizes inspired the rest of Fat Albert's gang. They visit the grave of Doris's grandfather together, after which the men race off, chattering amongst themselves and reminding Doris of the same attitude Fat Albert and his friends display on the cartoon.

    The movie ends with Fat Albert's closing cartoon song playing on a movie theater screen, but Albert jumps out of the screen, claiming he's got to help some of the people in the audience. He encourages everyone to stick around and watch the end credits, which feature the closing song, switching between the cartoon junkyard and the real world version.

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