Fat chance. Patrick (Cook) trains with the big boys at the US Space Centre.
dir Pete Hewitt
scr Phil Hughes
with Bruce Cook, Rupert Grint, Paul Giamatti, Simon Callow, Ned Beatty, Celie Imrie, Bronagh Gallagher, Victor McGuire, Adam Godley, Robert Hardy, Stephen Fry, Leslie Philips
release UK 24.May.02
02/UK 1h35

2 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
may the farts be with you It's hard to think of a film more carefully aimed at an audience of 10-year-olds than this: a wacky comedy about a boy with a gift for flatulence. Patrick (Cook) is a lonely nerd who has always caused problems due to his constant, loud farting. He only has one friend, Alan (Grint), a juvenile mad scientist inventor with no sense of smell. Together they plot ways to help control Patrick's problem. Which leads us to Thunderpants, Alan's series of increasingly ambitious inventions that first lets Patrick live a normal life, then puts his "gift" to use for far bigger purposes. Throw in the world's second greatest tenor (Callow), a stern schoolteacher (Imrie), and a couple of US Space Centre guys (Giamatti and Beatty) who desperately need Alan and Patrick's help.

It's all so silly and ludicrous that it defies discussion, really. As the plot gets more and more outlandish, you either have to just go along for the ride or you're in big trouble. Suffice it to say that if you have a 10-year-old boy lurking inside you anywhere, you've simply got to see this film. Hewitt directs with the same timeless style as his version of The Borrowers--carefully designed sets and characters that all work together to tell an otherworldly story. It's a very well-made film, actually, and the performances are all good, with little details for adults to enjoy (well, for the 10-year-old inside the adult). And there are even a few good laughs, if you're not too demanding. Just ignore the rather clunky moral about finding your place in life, and for heaven's sake don't expect anything even remotely serious!
vulgarity, language cert PG 13.Jan.02

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
may the farts be with you send your review to Shadows... "Yeah, I'd just like to say: What is wrong with the people that make kid-aimed films these days? They think that no kids film can be complete without fart jokes!" --Adrian Wilson, Southam, England 23.May.02
[ED: Erm, Thunderpants is just one big fart joke. And the filmmakers put them in there because kids laugh at them. And they laugh precisely because adults roll their eyes in disgust. Pretty simple really.]
2002 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall