Film Reviews: Wednesday, June 12, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Snot Very Funny

Sensory overload is the latest installation of the Rugrats franchise.

By BRIAN ABRAMS

Toothless toddlers tear off Huggies at every opportunity, Krispy Kremes sickeningly ooze through gums, unbearably loud shrieks crack the pain threshold — not since the Garbage Pail Kids have 8-year-olds been offered this many punch lines concerning snot, slobber, and bird plops. Yes, it’s the Rugrats, displaying their famous fondness for flatulence in their third franchise film, Rugrats Go Wild. This time, producer Arlene Klasky pairs the after-school boob-tube fiends in a mindless adventure with the characters from her Wild Thornberrys series. So, it’s double the laughs for some, quadruple the agony for the rest of us.

The Pickles clan, the family around which the action revolves, plans a vacation on a luxury cruise line, but, in a zany shuffle, ultimately ends up on a run-down fishing boat that wrecks on a deserted island. On this same island, wildlife expert Nigel Thornberry (voice of Tim Curry) and his family are already there, searching for a rare panther, and, in another zany shuffle, Thornberrys and Pickles mix and match for multiple episodes of mind-numbing mishaps in the jungle. The pupil-scorching palette hasn’t changed from the previous Rugrats films (The Rugrats Movie, The Rugrats in Paris). Intensely tawny characters in the forefront, a trail of stained orange and flaxen backdrops beneath. Pretty, huh? If you were to try to sit through the Rugrats’ trilogy nonstop — possibly in place of self-flagellation — the color scheme would leave you blinded well before the end of the first flick.

The biggest flaw is Nickelodeon’s continued failure to go beyond tunnel-vision storytelling. While animated-movie powerhouse Pixar caters to a wider audience by using clever pop-culture references, beautiful graphic designs, and edu-taining storylines, Nick’s movie producers still bang away at the sights of kiddy boogers being flung and the sounds of high-pitched vocals screeching. Rugrats Go Wild is just more of the same.

If you manage a chuckle at a few of the diaper-tossers’ wacky sequences, remember that this is only the first phase of frontal-lobe torture that Nickelodeon provides for kids, day in and day out. And don’t be surprised if, five minutes later, you find yourself emulating the kids on screen (i.e., drooling at the mouth). The Pickles’ next-door neighbor, Susie, probably puts it best, when she discovers Nigel, in a pit of “crocogators,” suffering from a case of amnesia: “Maybe tv people are only good at doing stuffs on tv?” Yeah, maybe those “tv people” who put together a 100-minute full-length feature film of snot jokes.


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