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'Rugrats In Paris'

Nickelodeon babies invade Paris in a hilariously messy new adventure

Friday, November 17, 2000

By Scott Mervis, Weekend Editor, Post-Gazette

In what can only be described as reality-based filmmaking, "Rugrats in Paris" takes poop, pee and booger jokes off the scale. Because, as anyone who's spent time watching a bunch of babies knows, those things come up a lot over the course of a day.

'Rugrats In Paris'


STARRING: Voices of Susan Sarandon, John Lithgow and TV show gang

DIRECTORS: Stig Bergvist and Paul DeMeyer



The Rugrat we love to hate

The success of "Rugrats," Nickelodeon's highest-rated kids show on television, is in showing things the way they really are -- and then imagining the rest. So, what we get are harried parents with cell phones and big schemes and curious babies who share secret communication and a vivid fantasy world.

Their first leap to the big screen, "The Rugrats Movie," focused on the Pickles family, with the arrival of baby Dil. This time, fearless leader Tommy steps aside for the Finsters: fearful, red-headed Chuckie and nerdy dad Chas, feeling heavy pressure to date.

What are "dates," the babies wonder among themselves?

"Big raisins that make you poop."

Naturally, kiddie audiences go wild at any mention of such things, while the parents in tow can savor the humor that sails over their heads, like Angelica's high-powered mom blurting, "I can't mother and merger at the same time."

From the get-go, "Rugrats in Paris" enters territory animators don't often tread. Recalling the most famous of all sequels, it opens with a wedding scene, where in a darkened back office Angelica is holding court as the "Bobfather." Along with the mundane, there is serious business going on, as Chuckie has grown increasingly sad and confused about not having a mommy.

Since this is a little harder to take when it's real kids and not elephants or lions, squirming parents will be relieved when Stu Pickles gets the urgent call to grab family and friends and hop a plane to Paris to repair his mechanized Reptar monster.

It's off to garish Euro Reptar Land, where cunning park director Coco La Bouche (voice of Susan Sarandon) is cooking up a scheme to snare a single father and child to prove she loves kids and win that promotion she wants. With help from Angelica, Coco plans to prey on the Finsters, who are becoming more attached to her Japanese secretary, Kira, and Kira's daughter Kimi.

Before La Bouche can seal the deal at the Cathedral of Notre Dame, though, she's going to have to confront the Rugrats, who are wild in the streets and driven by the credo of "A baby's gotta go what a baby's gotta do."

A trip abroad gives them a perfect backdrop to do what babies do, from the turbulence they create in the skies to the overturned hotel room to a scene at the Eiffel Tower that recalls King Kong. Phil and Lil do their part by eating gross things, and along the way, the baby wisdom comes fast and furious in lines like, "Wow, Reptar's boogers look just like Angelica."

As for Spike, in a nod to "Lady and the Tramp," he's working his moves on a French poodle and making his own contribution to Eiffel's masterpiece, while pumped to the tune of the Baha Men's "Who Let the Dogs Out."

Like the first "Rugrats" adventure, "Rugrats in Paris" is a fast, funny and hilariously messy romp that still makes room for an important subject, this time single-parenting. Next time they go away, though, they should pick up a travel guide: After all, who goes to Paris and doesn't make a stop at the Louvre?

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