How To Eat Fried Worms
Starring: Hallie Kate Eisenberg, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Luke Benward, Tom Cavanagh
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Synopsis: Based on the hugely popular Thomas Rockwell book, HOW TO EAT FRIED WORMS brings the classic story of a boy whose bravado lands him in a difficult predicament. The film revolves around 11-year-old Billy, who inadvertently challenges the school bully on his first day at a new school. In order to save face and earn the respect of his new classmates, Billy agrees to a bet that calls for him to eat 10 worms in one day. As the pressure mounts, Billy must summon all his strength to keep his younger brother from blabbing, his weak stomach from betraying him, and his big mouth from getting him in even more trouble.
Review: If your stomach doesn't churn a bit after hearing the title of the children's movie "How to Eat Fried Worms," the picture itself may finish the job.
Indeed, we watch the film's main character, 11-year-old Billy Forrester (Luke Benward), devour worm after worm--fried, grilled, juiced or served up raw. This is a picture in which the barf scenes standard in the usual crude youth comedies aren't gratuitous. They're logical climaxes.
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Writer-director Bob Dolman's "How to Eat Fried Worms" is based on a 1973 book regarded as -- amazingly -- a modern children's classic, written by Thomas Rockwell, the son of beloved Americana painter Norman Rockwell. The original book was simpler and a shade more palatable. There, the boy protagonist has to eat 15 worms in 15 days; in the movie, Billy has to scarf down 10 in a single day.
The reason for this gastronomic orgy is that old "Rebel Without a Cause" plot standby: the new kid in school trying to stand up to the local bully clique. Here, Billy has moved to a new suburban town with parents Mitch (Tom Cavanagh) and Helen (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) and his obnoxious little brother Woody (Ty Panitz). Billy runs afoul of 5th grade tyrant Joe Guire (Adam Hicks) on his first day, when Joe and his minions plant worms in Billy's lunchbox.
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*Review by By Michael Wilmington, Tribune movie critic
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