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Fat Kid Rules the World Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 60

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter John DeFore

    A commendably restrained loser-turns-winner tale offering an unexpected second showcase for Terri star Jacob Wysocki, Matthew Lillard's Fat Kid Rules the World is less colorful than its grandeur-deluded title suggests.

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  • 70

    out of 100

    Village Voice

    The film succeeds thanks to Lillard's clear affection for the material and on the strength of its performances, especially Billy Campbell as Troy's conflicted father.

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  • 70

    out of 100

    Variety Joe Leydon

    Affecting performances and effective storytelling are the hallmarks of Fat Kid Rules the World.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Fat Kid Rules the World is a movie with a title that might be misleading: It's a lot better than it sounds like it has any right to be.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 15 & under

Unpopular teen faces tough climb in edgy dramedy.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Fat Kid Rules the World features realistic high school situations, including an unpopular boy who's been ostracized for being overweight and a homeless teen who's angered everyone around him because he lies, steals, and takes drugs. There's plenty of swearing ("f--k," "s--t," etc.) and many scenes involving teen drinking and implied drug use, though nobody is actually shown taking drugs. A few scenes include fantasy sequences; some are violent/gory, while others are sexual fantasies involving women in their underwear. One teen character briefly works as a male prostitute; another masturbates to online porn. Despite all of this edgy content, this book-based dramedy is uplifting because it shows how the two characters help each other overcome their respective problems in ways that are both satisfying and believable.

  • Families can talk about how Fat Kid Rules the World portrays high school students. Is it believable? Are there realistic consequences for how they act?
  • How has Marcus' drinking and drug habit affected the people around him? Why doesn't anybody trust him?
  • What brings Troy and Marcus together? What keeps them together? Do you think Marcus is using Troy? Is either of them intended to be a role model?

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: At the start of the film, Troy has few friends and not much of a life. But Marcus drags him out of his shell and encourages him to pursue music. Troy eventually becomes a school leader, organizing a concert to cheer up his despondent pal and reaching out to help someone in need.

  • rolemodels true3

    Role models: Neither Troy nor Marcus seems like an especially positive role model at first. Troy is shy and insecure, with few friends and few interests, while Marcus lies, steals, and takes drugs. But the unlikely pair manages to bond, and their friendship brings out the best in both of them, with Troy becoming more confident and a true pal.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: Troy imagines horrible things that could happen to him, including getting hit by a bus, slashed with a razor, and shot by a security guard. All of these brief moments involve notable blood and gore, but they're gone quickly as he's brought back to his senses.

  • sex false4

    Sex: Troy ogles girls at his school, including attempts to peek up their skirts. He also has a vivid imagination, fantasizing about girls tearing off their clothes or wearing skimpy/revealing outfits. In one scene, he masturbates while watching online porn (no body parts shown on screen). His friend Marcus works briefly as a male prostitute, servicing men in a bathroom at a park (activities are implied rather than shown). A nude man is seen briefly from behind drying off after a shower.

  • language false4

    Language: Frequent use of "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "d--k," "prick," and more.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false4

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: A teen character steals pills from his friends' bathrooms and brags about finding Oxycodone. He likes to drink beer and appears to be snorting something at a concert. He later collapses and is hospitalized, in part because of his drug habit.