I was rudely awakened this morning. I guess I was still a bit groggy when I went into the basement and dug this out. Figured, “Hey, it’s nostalgia. You saw Rugrats as a kid. Let’s see if it holds up. Who cares if you’re a twentysomething who just got out of bed?” Long story short, this was a wasted morning, only remedied by Firefly.
Yes, I’m a 90’s kid. I remember back in the days BS (before Spongebob) when Nickelodeon was great. Then again, my access was a bit limited with my parents in charge of the remote. Nonetheless, I watched Rugrats. Now, I have never seen the films in theaters when they came out. It would be a few years before I saw their first outing as it was a something that took up class time back in grade school. I’m not sure when I first saw this but let me tell you, this was not exactly the best way to start the morning (I’ve made worse viewing choices).
Before I even begin to talk about the content of the film, I must bring up the name of the movie. Now normally, whenever a movie based on a series is released it usually follows the naming convention of Series Name: The Movie. Last I checked, there was no series called Rugrats in Paris, which would have been the more appropriate title for the sequel. It just seems odd to tack on “The Movie” at the end when we already know that it’s a movie, a sequel no less, based on a series. I can’t wait for the day when a TV show called The Movie gets a theatrical release called The Movie: The Movie. But I digress.
We start off with The Godfather as done by Rugrats. Yup, complete with a (hobby) horse head. The adults are dancing and the DJ calls for a mommy/offspring dance. Chuckie, motherless, sits out as his dad takes him home. Chuckie wishes for a new mother and so sets up Plot #1. We then go to Paris, more specifically EuroReptarLand as Paris is barely featured in the movie, as a Reptar machine goes haywire during a rehearsal. The villain, Coco Labouche, tells her hardworking, heart of gold assistant Kira Wantanabe to get Tommy’s dad over to Paris on the next flight so that the machine can be fixed, friends and family in tow. It’d make a bit more sense as only Tommy’s dad is needed but nope, everyone and the dog board the plane.
There’s a competing plot point (Plot #2) where Coco is told by the soon-to-resign boss via video conference (as Skype didn’t exist as a term yet) that the heir needs to love children. So she lies and tells him that she’s engaged. Angelica overhears this and supplies Coco with information about Chuckie’s dad being single and whatnot. I’d be skeptical if a child had told me these things as one, a child snuck into my office; two, said child willingly gives me vital information; and three, child wants a rather expensive reward. But it’s a kid’s movie so whatever is needed to get the movie done faster will happen regardless of adult logic.
Anyways, at one point we get yet another subplot (Plot #3) about Spike finding romance in the City of Love. This leads to a brief snippet of “Who Let the Dogs Out?”, something that will return in the credits. Just hearing this takes me back but at the same time it reminds me of how doggone annoying the song is whenever I see an ad for a comedy with a dog-related element is included, like the remake of The Shaggy Dog. We only see this briefly at different points in the movie just as a reminder that the dog was on the plane and he needs some screen-time.
Let me speed this up as this is becoming a forgettable film. The kids hate Coco, the parents can’t realize that, Chuckie gets a new mother and says his first word “No!”, saving the would-be wedding officiated by a minister who apparently skipped “speak now or forever hold your peace”, the kids run amok in the streets and cause severe damage but nobody sues for damages, and Spike finds romance.
True, this is memorable as the newest rugrat Kimi is introduced and becomes a cast member and that this did better than the first movie. But it seems like too much to work with in a 76 minute running time. It seemed more like a TV special than a theater movie. For a movie set in Paris, there’s not a lot of Paris featured. I didn’t plan to watch it but the quote on the DVD cover provided by the late Roger Ebert told me there may be something that I’m missing. Turns out he was right; I missed 76 minutes of my morning.
Now, the ending of the movie, post-credits. There’s no post-credits scene but something else. Now, I wasn’t one of those kids growing up that was afraid of what happened after this particular series but if I were a kid who stuck around after the credits in the theater and saw that face, I’d say it was a bad movie and would skip the credits on the DVD or eject the tape. What face am I talking about? Well, any person worth their weight in Nickelodeon history or knowledge of closing logos knows what I’m talking about. Klasky-Csupo, creators of this and other shows, had a memorable logo that seemed more welcome in nightmares. Around the corners of YouTube and in some forums or this link (2nd Logo), you may hear mention of what’s known as the SSF or “Super Scary Face”. Turns out that now that K-C is back, more or less, this logo is now the subject of their own webseries in development called Splaat. Of course, it sounds completely ridiculous but when the credits of this film end with a smooth R&B jam and cuts to this logo, you’d be startled if you were a kid.
All in all, it’s a forgettable sequel that doesn’t offer much other than a sense of nostalgia. Yes, I’ve heard of the theory but it doesn’t work for this movie. Did I mention Tim Curry is a singing sumo waiter? Who knew?