Saturday, September 02, 2006


Written by Hombre Divertido

Question: How to make an audience prefer the eating of fried worms to watching a movie?

Answer: Make the movie How to Eat Fried Worms.

A friend of mine's ten-year-old daughter wanted to see the movie How to Eat Fried Worms for her birthday. Apparently it is one of her favorite books. Seemed reasonable to me, and as I had seen good movies based on children’s books before, I agreed to attend.

We are introduced to eleven-year-old Billy, and spend a painful amount of time establishing that he has a weak stomach. Little did I know that the reason the audience is subjected to so much screen time expended on Billy’s touchy tummy, is because there is not enough story here to warrant a motion picture.

Based on the novel by Thomas Rockwell, whose father could draw, How to Eat Fried Worms tells the story of Billy whose family moves to a new town. We get the standard "new kid" storyline that starts with his first day at school. Billy meets a bully and makes him mad a la My Bodyguard. Said conflict results in Billy having to eat ten worms in a single day or face the consequences.

Well, of course Billy manages to do it, depending on your ability to count. Either way, the audience is left wondering what happened to the weak stomach we saw so much of. This is the least of the problems with this film.

Yes, Billy meets and aggravates the school bully, as we have seen many times. What he does not do is find the unusual sidekick. Oh, one is introduced eventually, but it is unclear whose side he is on, and he lacks the personality that normally endears a character to an audience as, for example, the characters in Sandlot did. Like everything else in this film, the relationships between the characters are unexplored.

This is a one-dimensional mess. The story is trite, the acting is uninspired, and the characters are poorly developed.

This film starts slow and slows down to the speed of a worm.

It is so sad that the most inspired aspect of this film, is how the worms are prepared. Unfortunately, this too makes little sense. The preparation reasoning is never made clear, nor is the acquisition of the culinary skill.

For what it is worth, the 10-year-old loved it, which could easily make some say that it is a film made for kids that age. Many films are made for kids that age, and they are excellent. This film is not. The fact that my 10-year-old friend loved it simply makes me weep for the future.

Recommendation: Get a pan, and some worms, and fix yourself a meal. You will enjoy it far more than How to Eat Fried Worms.