To gauge how far the Weinstein brothers' stars have fallen, look no further than 2002's Thunderpants
, a noxious direct-to-DVD 'family filmâ?� that the men who made Miramax decided to distribute. Thunderpants
' four-years-later release seems arbitrary, except that it was the acting debut of Rupert Grint, who is currently appearing in multiplexes everywhere in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
. Grint plays Alan, the brainy best friend to Patrick Smash (Bruce Cook), a boy blessed with the 'giftâ?� of being unable to stop farting. Ostracized at school and home and with a pipe dream of becoming an astronaut, Patrick is down in the dumps until he realizes his farts are magical, giving him the ability to fly. Assisted by the titular pants (a gas-catching mechanism invented by Alan) he saves a group of stranded astronauts stuck in space ' but not before he joins a Pavarotti-like opera tenor on his national tour, providing the shyster's impossible-to-hit high notes with his sphincter. I feel really silly writing this, let alone watching it; I can't imagine how embarrassed Paul Giamatti and Ned Beatty are, who somehow appear in this stinker. I smelt it, but director/co-writer Peter Hewitt most certainly dealt it.