Reviewer's Rating 2 out of 5   User Rating 4 out of 5
Thunderpants (2002)
PG

Ten-year-old boys will probably find "Thunderpants" the funniest film imaginable. Most viewers whose playground days are behind them, however, will turn up their noses at a comedy adventure about a boy with uncontrollable flatulence.

Not that "Thunderpants" stinks, exactly. British director Pete Hewitt's movie has some charming touches, notably a winning performance from Rupert Grint - last seen as red-haired Ron Weasley in "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone".

Grint again plays the hero's sidekick. This time he's the best friend of hapless Patrick Smash (Cook), the boy with the wayward sphincter. Luckily, Grint's Alan A Allen is a child prodigy who lacks a sense of smell.

A scientific genius, Alan channels his pal's gift for farting into the creation of the eponymous Thunderpants, a series of Heath Robinson-like inventions that eventually attract the attention of the US Space Centre.

By then, however, first-time screenwriter Phil Hughes' script has long exhausted the comic potential of Patrick's bodily emissions. It's a shame that "Thunderpants" is a one-joke movie, since Hewitt displays a good eye for visual comedy.

As he did in his 1997 adaptation of Mary Norton's children's classic "The Borrowers", Hewitt looks to 50s Britain for inspiration. Chris Roope's amusing colour-coordinated set design takes its cues from the era, but without anchoring the film in a strictly definable period.

Instead, "Thunderpants" floats freely in a whimsical fantasy world, one in which a boy's ability to fart explosively can transform him from social misfit to hero of the hour.

End Credits

Director: Peter Hewitt

Writer: Phil Hughes

Stars: Bruce Cook, Rupert Grint, Simon Callow, Stephen Fry, Celia Imrie, Paul Giamatti

Genre: Family, Fantasy

Length: 87 minutes

Cinema: 24 May 2002

Country: UK/Germany

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