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Review: Awkward yet endearing 'Fat Kid Rules the World'

The directorial debut of actor Matthew Lillard has energy that lacks focus.

October 11, 2012|By Mark Olsen
  • "Fat Kid Rules the World."
"Fat Kid Rules the World." (Handout )

"Fat Kid Rules the World," an adaptation of K.L. Going's young adult novel and the directorial debut of actor Matthew Lillard, is endearingly uneven.

Just as the title promises, the story revolves around Troy (Jacob Wysocki), an overweight teenager who feels like an outcast due to his size but finds acceptance, both with himself and with others, when he starts drumming in a punk rock band.

Still best known for his roles in "Scream" and the live-action "Scooby-Doo" movies despite his having moved on to the occasional mature part like his turn in "The Descendants," Lillard infuses the film with a rowdy energy, but it often feels unmanned, like no one is quite in charge.

In his earlier role in the underrated "Terri," Wysocki gave a performance that was at once lively and understated, here he often seems at loose ends.

There are enough small moments and telling details — such as the way Lillard highlights how Troy never quite knows where to look when talking to a girl — to keep the film moving even if it sometimes stumbles along.

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"Fat Kid Rules the World." MPAA rating: R for sexual and drug content, and brief violent images. Running time: 1 hour, 34 minutes. At the Laemmle's NoHo 7, North Hollywood; Chinese 6 Theatres, Hollywood.

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