Am I the only person...

...who cringes every time I see the trailer for Kung Fu Panda?

My first reaction is in the Love Guru/Zoltan area (No and No), although I do wonder if maybe it's not the gross cultural clusterfucktastrophe that it appears at first blush, given that Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu, Randall Duk Kim, James Hong, and Angelina Jolie (who tends to be slightly more sensitive to this stuff) are among the voice actors.

(But, of course, none of them play the lead, which is voiced by Jack Black.)

Then again, it wouldn't be the first time actors have played to stereotype for a paycheck. So I dunno. My second reaction is that this movie also appears to be one long fun-filled adventure in fat hating. Ha ha—the fat panda can't climb the stairs without getting winded. Ha ha—the fat panda is so inflexible and graceless. Ha ha—the fat panda is fat!

Back to Jack Black for a moment. One of the things I've really liked about his career (leaving aside that a woman couldn't have it) is that, despite being "a fat guy," he doesn't play Teh Fat Guy. He's cool, he's sexy, he knows it, his fat doesn't change it, and fuck convention. I dig it.

With some exceptions, he has played drama (Margot at the Wedding), comedy (High Fidelity), and romantic lead (The Holiday) without a major subplot about his fat—unlike, say, the Kevin James character in Hitch or the Chris Farley character in Tommy Boy (yes, I have to watch a lot of shit, just so I can have an honest bloody opinion about it!), classic fat-guy-who-gets-the-girl-despite-being-fat-and-all-his-many-many-issues-about-being-fat roles. (Also see: Ugly Guys or Ugly/Fat Guys, of which Ernest Borgnine's Marty was the exemplum.)

Black is capable (and has been given opportunity) to allow fat not to be an issue, so it's disappointing to think he'd be in a film where the major point seems to be that it is.

Perhaps it's just the marketing; perhaps it's really a fat acceptance film wrapped inside a big fat joke.

In which case, I'll reiterate my assertion that cynical shit like that is the cinematic equivalent of deathbed confessions. I've got no love for films who trick ignoramuses into theaters with the opportunity to laugh at funny accents and zany ethnic wardrobes, or boobies and queers, or fat people and dwarves, for two hours only to try to make it all okay with a tacked-on feelgood moral-of-the-story ending about how even "different" people deserve love or wev. Fuck that. I'm more impressed with films that convey messages like "fat doesn't matter" by, ya know, actually having fat characters for whom fat doesn't matter. Kooky.


[This a fat acceptance thread. That means comments about how fat is unhealthy are unwelcome and inappropriate. The governing idea here is that, irrespective of your opinions about fat and health, fat people don't deserve to be shamed and ridiculed. If you're confused about this concept, please read this.]

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