Who let the dogs out? Rugrats on the rampage in the City of Lights...
Rugrats in Paris, The Movie
Rugrats II

dir Stig Bergqvist, Paul Demeyer
scr J David Stern, David N Weiss, Jill Gorey, Barbara Herndon, Kate Boutilier
voices Christine Cavanaugh, Cheryl Chase, Susan Sarandon, John Lithgow, Julia Kato, Michael Bell, EG Daily, Debbie Reynolds, Jack Riley, Melanie Chartoff, Casey Kasem, Tim Curry
release US 17.Nov.00; UK 6.Apr.01
Paramount 00/US 3 out of 5 stars
The little brats are back, and this time they're on a Euro-adventure, taking all their zany antics, loopy observations and potty (and now bidet) jokes across the Atlantic with them. And fortunately for grownups trapped in the audience, the success of the first film means that this second instalment has greatly improved production values. We begin with a very lame excuse to get the Pickles family plus all their friends over in Paris on business at EuroReptarland, a throbbing new Japanese theme park right in the heart of the City of Lights. Of course, the kiddies get up to their usual destructive adventures, while the adults are caught up in a contrived romantic subplot involving Coco LaBouche (Sarandon hamming it up a la Cruella DeVil) and her nutty sidekick Jean-Claude (Lithgow).

What makes this fun for adult viewers is the incessant spoofage, from The Godfather to Jurassic Park, by way of Lady and the Tramp and Godzilla. These clever touches keep us chuckling along with other sophisticated gags such as a sumo karaoke sequence and a pointed jab at Disney's It's a Small World. Not that there isn't plenty of low-brow wackiness as well--poo and fart jokes in abundance. Yes it's loud and obnoxious and colourful and chaotic, and the kids do indeed demolish Paris. The songs are a bit obnoxious (Who Let the Dogs Out, anyone?) and the film's overriding message is dubious at best ... and more than a little misleading for kids in single-parent families. But there are also nice themes about bravery, honesty and trust, the animation is astonishingly good, and the constant mayhem makes the very obvious plot bearable.
some violence, vulgarity cert U 28.Feb.01

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2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall