Although it suffers from typical technical independent film problems, it's one of the best feel-good films of the year.
I'll always think of Matthew Lillard as Shaggy from the Scooby-Doo movies of my childhood and that laid back personality seems to be fed into his hard work too. Fat Kid Rules The World is a real indie treat. Although it takes on the tired high school archetype (not alone in freshening it up with the delightful 21 Jump Street this year), it's about the characters as people, not as stereotypes. It's the protagonist Troy, played by Jacob Wysocki, who makes the journey worthwhile. He's wonderfully relatable in his self-deprecating fantasies and bursts of teenage horniness. Here he finds not only direction in life but someone to share it with too. It's a great feel-good archetype that this film really makes work with its great soundtrack and sense of humour. Although perhaps Matt O'Leary's Marcus feels a little too contrived in his role to fit in the Kurt Cobain grunge rocker who throws far too much kindness onto Troy than is believable, the film otherwise makes great use of its side characters, particularly Troy's father, the army type with surprising compassion. Unfortunately the film suffers from indie cinema traits of flat cinematography and lighting which does weigh the film down quite a bit but otherwise it's one of the most watchable films of the year.
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