Angus Review

An overweight high-school kid learns to stand up for himself.

by Louise Brealey |
Published on
Release Date:

05 Apr 1996

Running Time:

90 minutes



Original Title:


The fat kid, the eternal butt of movie gags since Piggy's sad demise in Lord Of The Flies, finally gets his own back in this modern fairy tale. Angus Bethune is a teenager determined to overcome the social obstacle presented by his obesity, and prove to his blond-haired, blue-eyed star quarterback tormentor Rick Sanford (James Van Der Beek) that there is no such thing as normal.

If the premise is familiar, then it doesn't stop the treatment from being charming and convincing. Angus (newcomer Talbert) comes from an unorthodox family: he has no father, his mother (Kathy Bates) is a long-distance lorry driver, and his grandpa mentor (George C. Scott) has a "sod 'em" attitude to detractors and is poised to marry a sweetheart 30 years his junior. But the cards are stacked against Angus: not only is he large, he's brainy too and is set to enrol in a school for gifted kids.

The good performances, healthy quota of laughs and easy-going nature outweigh the obviousness and cliches - such as the final humiliation where Angus is set up as King of the Freshman Winter Ball with beautiful cheerleader Melissa Lefevre (Ariana Richards), his longtime idol (and Sanford's girlfriend) as Queen.

With a dose of grandpa's sturdy advice the triumph of the big man is just around the corner and so this harmless, if unrealistic, feelgood movie adroitly avoids the twee sentimentality that would otherwise have floored it in the first five minutes.
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