Rugrats Go Wild
Posted: February 29, 2004
Third time's the unlucky charm
I get annoyed when people talk during a movie, and I was similarly bothered when a nearby patron kept chattering during <b>Rugrats Go Wild</b>. However, in this case the patron was my seven-year-old son; thanks to endless TV trailers and specials about the movie, he was able to recite most of the movie's dialogue right along with the characters. He also partook of the scratch-and-sniff card (which were <i>available at Burger King for a limited time!</i>) that accompanies the various odors referred to in the movie. So he had plenty to keep him busy, which is more than I can say for the more discerning moviegoer.
Despite their TV origins, the first two <b>Rugrats</b> movies had an unassuming charm, but this sequel reeks of opportunism. Through major contrivances, the Rugrats and their parents end up on the same nearly-deserted island as The Wild Thornberries of, er, TV fame. It's no small coincidence that both of these cartoon families appear every day on Nickelodeon, whose parent company, Paramount, released this movie. The movie might as well have gone all the way and added Jimmy Neutron and The Fairly OddParents to the story at some point.
The movie is as nicely animated as the previous two, but the story is so bereft of inspiration, it can't think of anything funnier than parodies of every shipwreck movie ever made--along with about a half-dozen references to "Gilligan's Island," which at least had a curvy movie star to divert us. The movie's big idea of wit is give the family dog the voice of Bruce Willis, who unsuccessfully attempts to revive his 1980's laconic-lounge-singer routine. I guess it's the only way he could get on a soundtrack album these days.
The people who defend this kind of pap inevitably end with, "But the kids loved it!" But as most TV fare enthusiastically proves, kids love just about anything you put in front of them that moves. Too many recent movies--<b>Finding Nemo</b> is the most obvious example--have proven that family movies don't have to be the equivalent of big-screen TV to be enjoyable.
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