In his first directing gig, adapting the 2003 young-adult coming-of-age novel by K.L. Going, actor Matthew Lillard (Scream, The Descendants) does a nice job. He's got a generous touch with the performers (led by Jacob Wysocki, the chubby star of Terri), whom he sends hurtling around various Seattle locations. Fat Kid is partly about the formation of a rock band, and Lillard gives the movie plenty of punk energy. (Pearl Jam's Mike McCready supplies the score.) Teenagers will surely relate to 17-year-old Troy, an underconfident outsider who lives with a gruff but loving single father (Billy Campbell) and younger brother. Into his miserable life comes Marcus (the hyperactive but endearing Matt O'Leary), a teen street addict who challenges Troy to form a band with him. Fat Kid is a straightforward, peppy, pleasing movie that's been updated just enough for the age of Facebook. (Troy vomiting onstage becomes a YouTube viral sensation and great publicity for the band.) Adults will find Going's story too simple, of course, which is why we call them young-adult books. But the simplicity works. If Marcus can say, "Don't disappoint me, Troy," you can be sure he won't.
Wysocki as reluctant punk rocker.
Opens Fri., Oct. 26 at SIFF Cinema Uptown. Rated R. 98 minutes.