REPREHENSIBLE 'RUGRATS'
Courtesy Photo
"THE RUGRATS MOVIE"
* 87 minutes | Rated: G
Opened: Friday, November 20, 1998
Directed by Norton Virgien & Igor Kovalyov

Voices of E.G. Daily, Christine Cavanaugh, Cheryl Chase, Kath Soucie, Jack Riley & Melanie Chartoff



This film got a dishonorable mention on the Worst of 1998 list.





 COUCH CRITIQUE
   SMALL SCREEN SHRINKAGE: 5%
   LETTERBOX: NOT NECESSARY

Filmed with video in mind -- it's a TV show after all. But I still say this movie is full of rotten messages for kids and should be shunned.

Terrible messages for children big screen adaptation of hit TV show

By Rob Blackwelder

"The Rugrats Movie" features negligent parents, babies nearly being hit by cars, babies in a truck that goes off a cliff, babies lost in the forest wearing nothing little more than diapers, babies falling into rivers and babies switching around other babies in bassinets in a maternity ward musical number, all of which is played lightly for giggles.

Maybe I'm taking it too seriously -- it is a cartoon after all -- but while I expect this kind of comedy from an ironic, adult 'toon like "The Simpsons," in a movie aimed at families and children, I think it's nothing short of shockingly irresponsible.

A gussied-up spin-off of the cash cow animated series on Nickelodeon (which, you should know for perspective, I've never seen), "The Rugrats Movie" has the same cast of queerly drawn (I'm trying not to say "ugly") talking (to each other anyway) infants. Tommy Pickles is the insecure diaper-clad hero of this story. His best friend Chucky is a 3-year-old who looks like Carrot Top in spectacles. Phil and Lil are twin 15-month-olds with bulbous heads, and Angelica is the tyrannical brat 3-year-old of the bunch.

The movie begins with the birth of Dil Pickles, Tommy's new baby brother. The adventure that follows is a backdrop for your standard story of sibling jealousy turning to love, but in addition to being wracked with irresponsible, although certainly unintentional, messages (It's fun to fall in a river!), the story is pretty sloppy.

Example: Early in the pic there's one of those meanwhile-in-another-movie scenes that comes out of nowhere to show us a circus train crashing on a woody hillside. The train is not seen again until some 40 minutes later when Tommy, Dil, Chucky, Phil and Lil are lost in the same forest and the circus monkeys come along to wreak a little havoc.

Not that kids, the movie's target audience, would notice or, indeed, even care, but certainly the writers could have created a little better continuity.

But as far as I'm concerned, none of this matters in the face of the poor judgment used by the filmmakers. Waxing comedic about the kind of parental negligence and danger that in real life could only end with Social Services coming to take these children away, was at best a terrible miscalculation. In short, I would never take kids to see this movie.







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