How to Eat Fried Worms (film)

How to Eat Fried Worms

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Bob Dolman
Genndy Tartakovsky (animation)
Produced by
Screenplay by Bob Dolman
Based on How to Eat Fried Worms
by Thomas Rockwell
Music by
Cinematography Richard Rutkowski
Edited by
  • Janice Hampton
  • Frederick Wardell
Walden Media
New Line Cinema
Gran Via
Distributed by New Line Cinema
Release dates
  • August 25, 2006 (2006-08-25)
Running time
84 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $13.1 million[1]

How to Eat Fried Worms is a 2006 American children's comedy film directed and written by Bob Dolman and produced by Mark Johnson and Philip Steuer with music by Mark Mothersbaugh and Robert Mothersbaugh. It is loosely based on Thomas Rockwell's 1973 children's book of the same name. It was also produced by Walden Media and distributed by New Line Cinema. Development began in 1998 and theatrical release for the U.S. and Canada was August 25, 2006. The film stars Luke Benward, Adam Hicks, Hallie Eisenberg, Austin Rogers, Andrew Gillingham, Alexander Gould, Blake Garrett, and Philip Daniel Bolden. The film received mixed reviews from critics.


A young, naive boy named Billy Forrester (Luke Benward) has a weak stomach and vomits easily. He and his parents, Mitch (Tom Cavanagh), Helen (Kimberly Williams-Paisley), and his little brother, Woody (Ty Panitz), have just moved to a new town. Billy tells his mother that he doesn't want to go to school because he will be "the new kid". She assures him that he will make friends and everything will be okay. At school, however, he becomes the target of the school bully, Joe Guire (Adam Hicks), his two "toaders" named Plug (Blake Garrett) and Bradley (Philip Daniel Bolden), and the rest of his gang: Benjy (Ryan Malgarini), Techno-Mouth (Andrew Gillingham), Twitch (Alexander Gould), and Donny (Alexander Agate). They rudely stare at him and call him "Billy F." (which is how his name is written on his lunch box). Plug and Bradley steal his lunch box. He sits behind Erika Tansy (Hallie Eisenberg), an unusually tall girl whom people make fun of (calling her "Erk").

At lunch, Billy opens his thermos and pours out a pile of live earthworms. Sickened, he almost vomits before regaining strength. Then, confident, he throws one on Joe's face. A nerd named Adam Simms (Austin Rogers) was sure that Joe was going to smash Billy with his ring ("The Death Ring"), which is rumored that whoever Joe punches it with dies in the eighth grade.

The next day after school, Joe, Plug, and Benjy catch up with Billy as he heads home. Joe proposes a bet: Billy must eat ten worms in one day (the coming Saturday) without throwing up, and the loser has to come to school with worms in his pants and walk down the hall past everybody. Billy knows that he cannot back out of the bet, so he accepts.

The next day, Billy is teamed up with Adam Simms. After eating the first worm, "Le Big Porker," the gang gets caught by a park security guard for using a grill in the park without adult supervision but outruns him. Billy becomes more confident with each worm that he swallows. While cooking the second/third worm, "The Greasy Brown Toad Bloater Special," at Adam's uncle's (Clint Howard) restaurant, they get kicked out for having the worms in the restaurant. After Billy eats the fourth one, "The Burning Fireball," and burns his mouth, Twitch and Techno-Mouth quit Joe's team and become his new best friends. At the playground, Billy eats the next two worms, "Barfmallo," and "Peanut Butter And Worm Jam Sandwich."

After dinner, the boys go to a bait shop to eat their next two worms, "The Green Slusher" and "Radioactive Slime Delight." The owner of the bait shop (Jo Ann Farabee) tries to chase them for shoplifting the two worms. After Joe cheats in an attempt to keep Billy from eating the last worm, "Worm A La Mud," in time, all of his gang joins Billy's team. Billy eats the final worm before the deadline. Nigel Guire (Nick Krause), Joe's brother, who has been watching, tries to bully and humiliate him for losing. Billy and the rest of the gang stand up for him, telling Nigel to leave him alone, and he leaves.

After thinking it over that night, Billy returns to school. He explains to Joe that the second worm was eaten by Burdock after it was accidentally put in his omelet at the Brown Toad. Since they both lost the bet, they both put worms in their pants and the other kids watch them. They are then interrupted by Burdock, who nearly catches them when a worm falls out of Billy's pants, which Joe covers up. After Burdock returns to his office, the kids all run outside and celebrate as Billy and Joe both take the worms out of their pants and throw them into the air.



Box office

The film debuted at number 11 with $4,003,537 in U.S and Canada. It closed seven weeks later with a total of $13,040,527 domestically and $55,787 overseas for a worldwide total of $13,096,314.[1]

Critical reception

The film mostly received mixed reviews. Rotten Tomatoes shows the film as being rotten with a 59% rating. Metacritic gave the film a metascore of 56 (mixed or average reviews). The Filthy Critic gave the film four out of five "fingers" for its realistic portrayal of how children really act. ReelViews' James Berardinelli gave a mildly positive review (2½ stars out of 4) but thought the potential audience too narrow: "It's aimed at pre-teen males and doesn't make many concessions to members of other demographics." and went on to say:

How to Eat Fried Worms belongs to a vanishing breed – live action family films. Even the best of the genre (like Holes and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) don't draw large audiences, so mediocre productions like this one face an uphill struggle.[2]

The Boston Globe's reviewer – Ty Burr – gave it a 2 stars out of 4 and said when comparing the book to the film:

There's a kid named Billy, and he eats worms on a dare, and that's about all the movie has in common with its source. Truth to tell, that's all the movie needs to have in common with its source. "This is really disgusting," my 9-year-old's friend whispered to her during the screening. Then he added , "But I like it."
From a parent's viewpoint, two feet higher off the ground, How to Eat Fried Worms is lackadaisical stuff, easily the least of the unpretentious children's book adaptations produced by family-oriented Walden Media (Because of Winn-Dixie, Hoot, Holes).[3]

Home media release

How to Eat Fried Worms was released on DVD and VHS on December 5, 2006 by Warner Home Video.


Award Category Nominee Result
Young Artist Awards 2007 - Young Artist Award Best Young Ensemble in a Feature Film Luke Benward, Hallie Kate Eisenberg, Alexander Gould, Adam Hicks, Ryan Malgarini, Ty Panitz, Philip Bolden, Blake Garrett, Andrew Gillingham, Austin Rogers, Nick Krause, Stephan Bender and Alexander Agate Won
Best Performance in a Feature Film - Supporting Young Actress - Best Family Feature Film (Comedy or Musical) Hallie Kate Eisenberg Nominated



External links

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