Rugrats in Paris: The Movie

The second Rugrats movie has the distinction of being decent just because it is not horrible. Most animated movies released today may have great animation, but questionable story quality, and seem more concerned with profits and commercial tie-ins than actual entertainment. Rugrats is already an established enterprise, and already has a built in audience. It is a safe assumption that the rest of the world will not care about this movie. Still, it is fairly charming in the strange, Rugrats way. At less than ninety minutes, Rugrats in Paris is short enough to hold the attention span of most of its core audience. For children who squirm even more than that, there are frequent random outbursts of song (including the ubiquitous Who Let the Dogs Out by the Baha Men) and the trademark potty humor.

As with most other animated fare, children may enjoy this while adults will most likely be bored. The story revolves around a trip to Paris where Chuckie (Christine Cavanaugh) is looking for a wife for his father. David N. Weiss, David Stern, Barbara Herndon, J. David Stern, Jill Gorey, and Kate Boutilier, many of them writers for Rugrats series, do a fair job of translating their property to the big screen. The action takes place at Reptarland, an obvious riff on Disneyland. Rugrats in Paris also takes friendly potshots at King Kong, Jurassic Park, Lady and the Tramp, A Few Good Men, Godzilla, The Godfather, and many other movies. These jokes clearly are for the adults, so they have something to do before falling asleep. The non-stop potty humor and verbal gaffes are also here, and, while mildly amusing, become tiring quickly.

Unlike most other children's films, Rugrats in Paris has a definite clear lesson for children. It's nice to see a movie try to better children, and it's even better when it fits nicely into the story and does not appear out of place. Directors Stig Bergqvist and Paul Deyemer provide a nice moral and closure to a story that will also neatly fit into the regular series. Coco La Bouche (Susan Sarandon, Cradle Will Rock, Anywhere But Here) owns Reptarland, and she is a mean woman. She wants a promotion, but will only get it if she has a family, so she schemes to marry Chuckie's dad Chas. Chuckie and the rest of the gang dislike her, preferring her assistant Kira (Julia Kato). Chuckie notices that everybody else has a mother, and he does not. He feels he is missing something from his life, and this depresses him. So off goes Chuckie in search of the perfect mother for him, with the Angelica, Phil and Lil, Tommy, and the rest of the Rugrats gang in tow. Children (small children) will undoubtedly love this movie regardless of what anybody says, so oh well.

Haro Rates It: Okay.
1 hour, 20 minutes, Rated G.

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