Thunderpants Review

Patrick Smash is born with two stomachs and the gift of fart power. Although the stench doesn’t win him many friends (apart from genius junior inventor, Alan A. Allen), his talent is recognised by unscrupulous tenor Sir John Osgood. But Smash just really

by William Thomas |
Published on
Release Date:

24 May 2002

Running Time:

84 minutes



Original Title:


Thunderpants started as a joke in director Pete Hewitt’s head, but he didn’t expect it to get much further. But in pitching his story as an extension of Harry Potter or Roald Dahl’s put-upon heroes, he seems to have found the key to making a full-length movie that can still cram in a ton of fart gags.

Clearly the power to break wind isn’t quite the same as magic, but at least Patrick Smash gets a sidekick to equal Harry’s. In fact, the same sidekick, since under the perm and false teeth, Rupert Grint delivers a performance of the same calibre as the scene-stealing Ron of Harry Potter — albeit a Ron with a dramatically increased vocabulary and a posh accent.

A similarly starry adult cast is also on hand to help with proceedings. Stephen Fry, Simon Callow, Celia Imrie and Ned Beatty all seem to relish their larger-than-life characters, who could have been cut from the pages of The Beano or The Dandy.

Likewise, the story is episodic, each stage of Smash’s life culminating in further realisation of his special skills. Newcomer Bruce Cook makes a loveable hero, totally oblivious to his effect on his environment — straight-faced and innocent, and always trusting that his dreams of being a spaceman really will come true.

His faith carries the story through, and it helps that, when special effects are called for, nothing — including the space station — stretches the audience’s belief. But none of this would matter if ‘the kids’ didn’t think it was funny — and, judging by the reactions at packed pre-release screenings, they won’t feel short-changed.

This is a film that plays to its target audience without apologies to those who turn up their nose at such juvenile stuff.

Underneath all that expelled air, it’'s really just a tale of a boy finding his talent and making the most of it. A well-made, quirky oddity for adults, but a riot for kids and Beano nostalgists.

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