Troy is seventeen, overweight, and depressed. As he wanders through high school a ghost, Troy begins to question the point of living. One day while walking home Troy attempts suicide by stepping in front of a bus only to be saved by Marcus, a relatively charming high school drop out. The two start an uneasy friendship in which Marcus enlists Troy to become the drummer in his new punk rock band. The only problem? Troy has never played drums before in his life. Matthew Lillard's Fat Kid Rules the World is a unique (enough) "coming of age" drama that succeeds because of its strong performances and the general passion Lilliard has for the material. Fat Kid gives an honest depiction of high school life for a kid like Troy, often using an overabundance of shots which give the viewer glimpses into Troy's active imagination. These efforts are certainly fun and provide the audience a strong understanding of Troy but I did think they were a little overused. The narrative of Fat Kid is well layered, giving subtle glimpses into why Troy is who is, as well as the various family dynamics which exist. The film never outright states things, instead letting the viewer put the pieces together. I actually found Troy's Dad, played by Billy Campbell, to be one of the most interesting characters in the entire film. He is a man who feels responsible for his son's failtures, due to the death of their mother, and his conflicting thoughts about Troy hanging out with the troubled Marcus provide some genuine emotional drama. What's interesting about Fat Kid Rules the World is how Marcus, a complete fuck-up, is really the key to Troy and his family becoming whole again. Fat Kid Rules the World doesn't bring anything earth-shatteringly new to the genre but it certainly is a heartfelt film that has more positives than negatives.
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