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Film / Thunderpants

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"It's my arse. I want you to make something that would stop me farting."
Patrick Smash

Thunderpants is a 2002 British kids' comedy film about a boy called Patrick Smash who has a problem with farting. His life is extremely difficult as he is bullied and ridiculed by many. Until he meets boy genius Alan A. Allen (Rupert Grint) who builds a special underpants called "The Thunderpants" to keep his farts in. Things go nuts from there.

Directed by Peter Hewitt and also starring Simon Callow, Stephen Fry, Paul Giamatti, Ned Beatty and Keira Knightley in an uncredited cameo.

Unsurprisingly a massive failure on release, but has gained cult status due to its cartoony Roald Dahl-esque feel. It was also featured on RedLetterMedia's show Best of the Worst, where the crew notably disqualified it from the judging process for being what they considered too well-made and entertaining of a film to be called So Bad, It's Good.


Tropes include:

  • Actor Allusion: Josh Herdman's playing a bully who targets Rupert Grint and his friend. Again.
  • The Alcoholic: Patrick's mum becomes this after her husband leaves her. And her actress is Irish.
  • An Aesop: Problems can be used as gifts.
  • Arc Words: "This is the best/worst day of my life, ever."
  • The Bully: Damon.
  • Butt-Monkey: Poor Patrick and his father.
  • Catch-Phrase: Patrick's seems to be "That was the best/worst day of my life, ever."
  • Child Prodigy: Alan invented Thunderpants and later a hovercraft powered by farts. He later evolves into a Teen Prodigy and joins a space program comprised of other teen geniuses with plans to launch a spaceship using Patrick's farts.
  • Color Motif: Green. The effect is a timeless, Fairy Tale look to the film.
  • Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: Patrick's farts having been injuring his father for quite some time. When it came time for "enough is enough," his dad booked it after exchanging tearful goodbyes with his wife. To his credit, Mr. Smash tried his damnedest to continue loving and taking care of Patrick before he fled.
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  • Did Not Do the Bloody Research: A British kid saying "Goddamn" in a room full of American adults, in an apparent attempt to imitate their speech patterns.
  • Gasshole: Patrick. It's his weapon.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Alan gives one to Patrick before they unveil Thunderpants II.
  • It's All About Me: Sir John Osgood.
  • Jerkass: Every single character! Except Patrick, Alan and the Americans. Peter Hewitt said on the DVD commentary that they wanted to make the adults as nasty as possible.
  • Large Ham: Rupert Grint is clearly having fun.
  • Magical Realism: To the point of being a Fairy Tale that takes place in some undefined past.
  • Parents as People: Patrick's parents were at a loss for how to handle their son's fart problem. Before he left, Patrick's father tried his best to love and care for Patrick, despite getting repeatedly injured by the sheer force of his flatulence.
  • Punny Name: Patrick Smash, Alan A. Allen, Johnson J. Johnson among others, to give the movie a cartoony feel.
  • Serial Escalation: The first Thunderpants was to help Patrick contain and maintain his flatulence. Thunderpants II is a hovercraft lifted off the ground by Patrick's farts. The third Thunderpants is a goddamn space shuttle.
  • Shout-Out: Patrick's sister Denise is shown reading The Borrowers. Peter Hewitt directed the film adaptation.
  • Toilet Humor: Oh boy.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The ending credits is played alongside footage of various side characters commenting on their lives following Patrick's success in launching Thunderpants III.
  • Wolverine Publicity: Following Rupert Grint's boom in popularity as Ron Weasley, future home media releases of the movie made sure to put him front and center instead of Bruce Cook, who plays the actual protagonist, even specifically stating that Grint was that kid from Harry Potter. This cover doesn't even use Grint's actual appearance in the film.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Young Patrick is actually put on death row and set to be executed because of the danger his farts represent. Rather justified since they're powerful enough to cause severe property damage (even causing said damage to result in the death of someone) as well as Damon testifying that Patrick intentionally used it to attack him.


Example of: