Fat Kid Rules the World Review (Kirk Haviland)

Projection Booth (Toronto)

Fat Kid Rules the World

Starring – Jacob Wysocki, Matt O’Leary, Dylan Arnold, Lili Simmons, and Billy Campbell

Written by Michael M.B. Galvin and Peter Speakman

Directed by Matthew Lillard

I must admit that I haven’t been the biggest fan of Matthew Lillard’s acting career. His career defining role may be as Shaggy in the Scooby Doo films (one good, one awful), but he has also impressed with his great turn as a punk rocker Stevo in SLC Punk and the iconic role of Stu in Scream.  Aside from that there hasn’t been a lot to commend, but perhaps that’s because he hadn’t found his true calling yet.

Fat Kid Rules the World introduces us to Troy Billings (Wysocki), the titular Fat Kid of the title, a depressed overweight teen who invisibly walks the halls at school as he’s ignored at every turn. Troy is depressed and lonely, especially after the passing of his mother, and decides to attempt stepping in front of a bus one day only to be saved by Marcus (O`Leary). Marcus is an unreliable musician who was expelled from the same high school Troy attends yet sneaks back in on a regular basis as he’s revered there because of his talent. Marcus convinces Troy that they need to start a new band, despite the fact that Troy can’t play, and starts him playing the drums. Meanwhile Troy’s home life is going no better as his father (Campbell) is an ex-military man who runs the lives of his sons as if they are enlisted men while  Troy’s brother Dayle (Arnold) constantly tries to impress his father for whatever affection he can get. Troy’s insulated world of school and computer role-playing games is blown open by Marcus’ world of punk rock and chaos. Troy becomes submerged in the music and the drums. Seeing his son finally showing interest in something prompts his father to go out and buy a drum kit and encourage his dream all while trying to reason with Marcus who he rightly sees as a destructive force.  At a concert Troy meets Isabel (Simmons) a beautiful punk girl, the type he only talks to in his elaborate fantasies, and the two strike up a friendship (no it’s not an awkward guy gets the girl type movie) but is left in the lurch as the unreliable Marcus leaves him behind in favor of a skanky girl. Troy continues coming out of his shell as the troubles with Marcus mount until the triumphant conclusion.

Fat Kid Rules the World is a little gem of a film. It’s the type of film you discover, maybe through accident, that you can’t wait to share with everyone you know. Wysocki is a true discovery as he deftly manages to portray Troy as a trusting, warm-hearted individual who is also a bag of raw untapped emotions just under the surface. Wysocki’s performance, the ever beating heart of the film, is truly engaging throughout the entire film. O’Leary does some fine work here as the troubled Marcus who can never seem to not self-destruct and apparently has no desire to stop. This may be the best thing Campbell has done in years, his performance as the protective father is pitch perfect. Lillard may have discovered his true calling here as he shows a deft hand behind the lens and shows a lot of talent as a storyteller, I’m really looking forward to what stories Lillard may have to tell us next.

Fat Kid does indeed Rule the World and can state it as a definite recommend. Fat Kid started its exclusive engagement at the Projection Booth Theater on Gerrard Street this weekend and continues all week long.

Till Next Time,

Movie Junkie TO

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