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Overall Rating

Awesome: 8.11%
Worth A Look: 2.7%
Pretty Bad: 24.32%
Total Crap: 21.62%

4 reviews, 13 user ratings

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Phat Girlz
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by William Goss

"Laugh Diet"
3 stars

As with last month’s 'Aquamarine,' I am not exactly a member of the key demographic for a film like 'Phat Girlz.' As with last month’s 'Aquamarine,' I was mildly surprised to find that 'Phat Girlz' is a good-natured and fairly tolerable concoction, one that leaves its detractors relatively unharmed by its simple story and flat filmmaking, courtesy of an easy-going charm that just dares cynics (including yours truly) to go ahead and chuck a few stones. Call it mercy or even pity if you must, but enough elements of 'Phat Girlz' succeed to earn it a pass. As for next time, I make no promises.

While working at Bloomfeld’s, Jazmin (Mo’Nique) dreams of being a full-figured fashion designer, but whenever she attempts to approach the store’s owner (Eric Roberts) in an effort to improve their plus-size selection, she is shot down by his snobbish assistant (Jack Noseworthy), just one of several evil white men out to crush her aspirations a la Last Holiday (my personal favorite: the unfortunately-named Mr. Lynch, who denies her a loan at – er – First Plantation Bank). Thanks to a diet sweepstakes, our lead wins a luxurious spa vacation, and she heads down to Palm Springs with her similarly sized colleague (Kendra Johnson) and shallow cousin (Joyful Drake). There, she happens to fall for a hunky Nigerian doctor (Jimmy Jean-Louis), who happens to value her plump physique and sassy attitude. Cue saccharine.

Even though Girlz relies on very broad humor and a simple story, there is a genuine geniality that keeps it afloat longer than it has any right to. Mo’Nique does a fine job carrying her film, which is inevitably a step up from her work in Soul Plane and Domino. For the better part of the movie (i.e. the first hour), the laughs are more akin to those from her stand-up work than an actual movie. There’s the repeated mantra of “I hate skinny bitches,” an entire sequence devoted to her trying on clothes she wouldn’t knowingly own, and an amusing detour to Fatassburger, where Jazmin and her gal pals order from the jumbo-sized menu and then deliver a epic verbal smackdown to a mouthy employee: “Yo momma so fat…” versus “You so ugly…” Even as the token romance kicks in, there is still mild amusement to be had.

Then, the film drops the entire doctor plot for a while, focuses solely on the self-esteem/fashion design part, and then comes back with a series (!) of happy endings to ensure that all bases are covered. (You will literally laugh 'til she cries.) By the point where she looks in the mirror and assures herself that she is ‘phatabulous,’ the film begins to stretch itself thin, because there is no doubt that everything will work out in the end. To make matters all the more taxing, the humor in the last act is sparse, and more sweet than sassy when it does appear.

Although Mo’Nique certainly has her charm, first-time writer/director Nnegest Likké never takes her off her pedestal, even frequently repeating an anthem entitled “African Queen” just in case you forgot that Jazmin is a big, beautiful woman deserving of as much attention as any of those skinny bitches. Besides being predictable, the ultimate dilemma of Phat Girlz is that it wants to laugh with full-figured females, but don’t you dare laugh at them. It preaches that people shouldn’t have shallow standards, yet her dream dude can easily be a muscle-laden stud, no problems whatsoever.

Despite its detour into typical territory, Mo’Nique and the supporting cast do manage to squeeze enough laughs in to make 'Phat Girlz' a marginally enjoyable comedy. Cutting back on your portions, however, might not be such a bad idea.

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originally posted: 04/10/06 06:44:22
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User Comments

10/31/08 Shaun Wallner Well made. 3 stars
6/17/08 Jenn Touched on good points, but came up short. Too Exhaggerated. 3 stars
6/17/07 Skinny Bitch fucking piece of shit 1 stars
10/20/06 Nenew I thought the movie was okay except for the quality of the film was bad 2 stars
9/26/06 Sarah I thought this movie was great, it made me laugh and made me sad. Overall great movie!! 5 stars
9/14/06 David Cohen If I had to hear them say "skinny bitches" one more time I would have smashed the set 1 stars
6/06/06 Thaina I loved this movie Mo'nique did and say everything I would in real life. 5 stars
4/28/06 Jen Wilson Had potential but fell flat 2 stars
4/13/06 San Lamar Aiight 3 stars
4/12/06 Paula very few laughs -- I felt more like crying 2 stars
4/11/06 Anthony I love Mo'Nique in this film. It was hilarious. 4 stars
4/11/06 lawrence mcintyre this was a great movie i loved it 5 stars
4/10/06 Izzy I liked it, but the camera work was sooooo bad. Lots of laughs though. 3 stars
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  07-Apr-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 22-Aug-2006



Directed by
  Nnegest Likké

Written by
  Nnegest Likké

  Jimmy Jean-Louis
  Joyful Drake
  Eric Roberts
  Jack Noseworthy

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