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Reviews » Theatrical Reviews » Rugrats Go Wild!
Rugrats Go Wild!
Paramount // PG // June 13, 2003
Review by Megan Denny | posted June 12, 2003 | E-mail the Author
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Rugrats Go Wild

Rugrats Go Wild made me think of what Gilligan's Island would be like if the island were populated only by Gilligans. Nickelodeon throws together two of its most popular clans for a sweet but immature film about what would happen if the Rugrats met up with the Wild Thornberrys.

After their boat sinks in a storm, the Rugrats find themselves on a desert island. The adults believe they are stranded and panic, but little Tommy believes his TV adventure hero, Nigel "Strawberry" (Thornberry) will save them. In an alarming turn, the group of babies wander off into the "drainforest" to look for "Strawberry." Of course everything is fine and happy so long as everyone sings a happy song from the soundtrack. Bratty Angelica meets teen queen Debbie Thornberry and is immediately and predictably enthralled. But, the most well-written and entertaining scene in the film occurs between Spike the dog (voiced by Bruce Willis) and Eliza Thornberry.

Fans of the more mature Thornberrys will likely be disappointed as the Rugrats dominate this film. In an inexplicable plot turn, Nigel Thornberry is rendered into a toddler-like mental state which provides great humor for three-year-olds but deprives the adult audience of his grown-up humor. In fact, the film is almost completely devoid of moments which will entertain adults. Aside from a few spoofs of ocean-themed movies such as Titanic and A Perfect Storm, there isn't much for the 10+ demographic.

Besides a lack of adult-oriented humor, there was something else missing from the movie: a moral or message. The movie is filled with examples kid-behaving-badly: wandering away into the jungle, eating bugs, stealing an underwater pod, driving with your eyes closed, etc. Oh well, it kept the kiddies entertained throughout. There's even a fun interactive element where kids can watch for a number or an image to appear on-screen and then sniff a corresponding number/image on a card (obtained from Burger King) for "Smell-o-Vision." Heck, maybe they'll grow up and want to smell another film and John Waters' Polyester will finally see a revival.

All in all, Rugrats Go Wild is a mixed bag. The film is completely innocuous and devoid of any dramatic tension whatsoever which makes the film perfect for very small children who might be too young for Finding Nemo. On the other hand, the film has no nutritional value and lacks the magic-for-all-ages that Disney/Pixar does so well.

-Megan A. Denny

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