The Rugrats Movie Review

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A group of toddlers is disrupted when a new born baby brother arrives for one of their number. So they decide to return the baby to the hospital.


Those familiar with The Rugrats cartoon from Saturday morning TV will know its episodes are short, snappy purveyors of superb baby/toddler's eye-views of a grown-up world. So expansion of the witty format into an 80-minute plot might raise an eyebrow. After all, aren't rugrat attention spans as short as, well, Rugrats?

The inevitable concession is to remove the 'rats - the permanently nappied Tommy Pickles, his domineering cousin Angelica, his bespectacled friend Chuckie, his neighbours' twins Phil and Lil and dog Spike - from the Pickles suburban home and give them a big wide world adventure. The catalyst is the birth of Tommy's brother Dylan and our heroes' decision to return him to the "hop-sickle" (the hospital to you) in order to restore normal life. Taking off in the Reptar Wagon, one of Tommy's dad's inventions, they end up lost in the forest at the mercy of escaped circus monkeys, the elements and a big bad wolf. While their families are searching for them (shadowed by TV news crews), Tommy learns to love his baby bro' and all The Rugrats learn life lessons.

Young 'uns will delight in the constant stream of nappy gags while for adults there's a number of film references - it opens like Baz Luhrmann's Romeo And Juliet, shifts into a superb Raiders Of The Lost Ark pastiche, and tips its hat to The Fugitive and Bambi - but it's unlikely this will draw in unaccompanied adult fans of the Saturday experience.

Nonetheless, it's well drawn and the chuckles come thick and fast. And any film which uses a bunch of rock stars (including Lenny Kravitz, Patti Smith and Iggy Pop) to sing a maternity ward musical set piece has got to be worth a look.

Fun for kids, but, despite some adult references, appeal for the over 10s is limited.