22-year-old Ash Christian wrote, directed, stars in and takes a bit of a critical beating for "Fat Girls," his film about a gay teenager in conservative Texas and his overweight best friend. Michael Koresky at indieWIRE uses the occasion of the film’s hitting theaters to dwell on the current state of the gay coming-of-age tale, which, he writes, "has become as rote, unimaginative, and self-regarding as the mainstream teen dreck that crowds multiplexes."
Case in point: Ash Christian’s preening "Fat Girls," a film as crude as its title that treads such familiar ground that it’s nearly impossible to distinguish from its DV brethren. With its stunning lack of visual ingenuity in its parade of flat, barely cobbled together scenes, one might think it the work of a child. Well, that wouldn’t be far off: the directorial debut of the only 22-year-old Christian, "Fat Girls" (the title refers to Christian’s homogenized description of the state of mind of gay men) seems to be haphazardly shot from the kind of script that most aspiring filmmakers write in their late teens and then disregard when the world opens up to them a little bit more.
"Fat Girls is fully in the ‘quirky indie’ mold," adds Noel Murray at the Onion AV Club, "populated by frumpy characters who sport slack expressions and enthuse about silly life plans. (Christian’s morbidly obese best friend, for example, proudly announces her plan to go the community college and become a nutritionist. Ha ha.)" Stephen Holden at the New York Times suggests that "For all its veneer of sensitivity, ‘Fat Girls’ turns ugly in a farcical sequence in which Sabrina gets stuck inside a Volkswagen Beetle while making out with Rudy. Even on the crudest finger-pointing level, it isnâ€™t funny."
It’s not all negative: "Despite its many shortcomings, Christian’s film exhibits an understanding for high school cliquishness and the ensuing sense of alienation felt by those who don’t fit in," allows Nick Schager at Slant, while Abigail Deutsch at the Village Voice writes that the characters "mope in and out of classrooms wearing expressions of gaping, undisguised horror that alone justify the existence of this film," and salutes that fact that the film "goes to some lengths not to be another high-school movie, which means prom stinks and no one can sing."