Saturday 16 April 2011


Fred: The Movie, also known as Fred: The Brain Embellism or Fred: The Argument For Chemical Castration is out now on DVD. Watch the trailer and then read my stark warning for the future/review, next...

When his next door neighbour/imaginary girlfriend (Pixie Lott) moves across town, Fred Figglehorn (Lucas Cruikshank) decides to travel to her new house so they can finally be together. Along the way Fred manages to annoy every person he comes into contact with and learns approximately zero life lessons that might make him a better person.

So here it is, the epitome of Joseph Campbell's writings on the The Hero's Journey as told via the story of a demented sociopath with a voice like the evil Judge Doom from Roger Rabbit. Never before have I inflicted such an assault on my eyes, ears and patience than what I did with Fred: The Movie. So soul cuttingly offensive is Fred's high pitched voice, within thirty seconds of this film starting you'll find yourself reaching for the remote, either to turn the volume down or to just turn it off. 

Saddled with a personality and a haircut only a mother could love, Fred Figglehorn is possibly the most repugnant character ever to be given his own movie.  As for what 'plot' this punishing experience on the human spirit has, it's kind of like Smiley Face crossed with that annoying piece of bubble gum on the sole of your shoe, as the permanently live-wire Fred circumnavigates the local area to reach Judy's house and profess his undying love to her. It's actually quite a sinister tale at times as Fred stalks Judy using Google Maps and then breaks into her home. Just age Fred by ten years and you've got a horror movie, or at least a John Hinckley Jr in the making.

I know what you're going to say, "It's for kids!". Well if you want to let your children have this abhorrent, borderline racist little twerp teach them about the plus side of electrocuting yourself, be my guest; just don't say I didn't warn you when they start screaming in your ears for more sugar and then accidentally wind up with a fractured skull because they've tried to jump over a wall with a trampoline. The BBFC felt it necessary to attach the film with the consumer advice of 'contains material that would be dangerous if copied', so you know it's not just your average playground hijinks on show.

Ultimately, Fred is quite a sad character, and if you were wanting to write a book on analysis, he'd make one hell of a case study. Single Mother, no Father (except for his imaginary one, WWE's John Cena), no friends and no future. You'd feel sorry for the lad if he wasn't such a horrendous human being. Like the bastard offspring of Pee-Wee Herman and a Whoopee Cushion, it's hard not to take the side of the school bullies when they hurl dodgeballs at his annoying little face.

There is some enjoyment to be gleamed from watching Fred, namely the times in which he hurts himself... which he does a lot. A film for the sadist inside all of us, just when you think you can't stand the noise anymore, someone kicks Fred square in the face and you start to smile again. As well as the shrieking lead performance from Cruikshank, the supporting performances are not of the highest standard. Pop moppet Pixie Lott does little more than break out into song and look a little embarrassed, whilst WWE Superstar John Cena (as Fred's imaginary father), at least has fun with his short cameo appearance.

Fred is, for want of a better word, the 'brain child' of 17 year old star Lucas Cruikshank, taking a loyal following on YouTube (over one million subscribers to the 'Fred' channel) and turning it into a career in television and now, film. It could be argued that this is an impressive achievement for a 17 year old writer/producer/actor, but personally I see it as a worrying statement on the 21st Century's instant celebrity culture. I've got no problem with his YouTube success, but I take issue when this assault on the senses invades cinemas and then rental stores. Yes, I didn't have to watch it, but hopefully I can dissuade some parents from sitting their kids down in front of this IQ reducing garbage.

The DVD should have included a badge that says "I survived Fred: The Movie", because I'd wear it with some pride. Possibly the most dangerous children's entertainer since Gary Glitter, Fred sets a number of appalling examples for young children to follow. He may be bright and colourful and speak in a comedy squeaky voice, but he's truly a danger to society. To summarise, I feel like a lesser human being for having sat through this.


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