Thunderpants is the story of a young British boy Patrick Smash (played by Bruce Cook) who is desperate to become an astronaut. Unfortunately, it seems like Patrick has no way of realising that ambition. He is unpopular at school with both students and teachers, and so unpopular at home that his father leaves home and his mother turns to alcohol. The cause of Patrick's problems is that he simply cannot stop farting; he is rather podgy, has two stomachs and a severe flatulence problem.
The only joy in Patrick's life (apart from watching astronauts on television) is his best friend Alan A Allen (played by Rupert Grint). Alan, also a bit of an outcast at school, is extremely intelligent and loves inventing things. As he has no sense of smell, he is able to put up with Patrick's 'problem.' The two met on their first day of school together and have been best friends ever since.
The film is a British production, made in the UK in 2002. It is directed by Peter Hewitt, who also directed The Borrowers.
The story of Thunderpants follows Patrick's quest to become an astronaut. When he is seen at home in England, the ambition seems completely impossible — Patrick can't stop farting long enough to say 'astronaut', let alone become one. As Patrick is constantly persecuted by the school bully, Alan thinks of various ways to deal with Patrick's 'emissions'. He invents the 'Thunderpants', a special pair of underpants that miraculously converts farts into a green powder that can be stored away in the 'Thunderpants' during the day, to be cleverly disposed of by Alan.
The film starts with Patrick's birth. He was born with a lot of black hair which stays with him for the duration of the film. He has a big sister, who loves reading but hates her younger brother, and two loving parents who do everything they can to deal with his problem. Unfortunately, Patrick's father eventually finds the farting so unbearable that he gives up and leaves the family. Patrick's mother doesn't particularly want to have to live with Patrick either, but she has to. Patrick's sister takes great delight in eating foods that Patrick can't have in case it aggravates his problem. Unfortunately, Patrick loves to eat. He also loves to wear green-and-black striped clothes — that is all he is seen in throughout the whole film.
As the 'Thunderpants' are such a great success, Alan thinks of various ways to convert the farts into fuel that can be of benefit to the world. Sadly, he is whisked away to the USA shortly afterwards.
Patrick finds himself alone — with no Alan his life is a disaster. Amazingly, he secures himself an offer to travel around the world — he sees this as a chance to find Alan. Poor old Patrick just ends up getting into sticky situations — such as being arrested by the Italian police. The only person who can save him and help him become an astronaut is Alan.
Although it's not a masterpiece with a cult following and lots of awards, Thunderpants can be quite an amusing and enjoyably silly film, especially if you're a ten-year-old boy.
At the film's première, each person was given a whoopee cushion and everybody was instructed to sit on their cushions at the same time. Which, according to an official Guinness Book of Records consultant who was present at the time, set a new record for simultaneous simulated farting!