From Japanese junk like "Pokémon" and "Digimon" to American TV-to-film transfers like "Doug's First Movie" and the forthcoming "Recess: School's Out", the standards of screen animation have plummeted of late. Yet another example of this depressing trend can be found with the second cinematic adventure for Nickelodeon's repulsive cartoon infants, the Rugrats.
One can just about tolerate these ghastly nippers on Saturday morning television, but on the big screen they outstay their welcome faster than it takes a newborn to soil its nappy. Guest vocal appearances from Susan Sarandon, John Lithgow, and Debbie Reynolds raise the stakes a touch, but otherwise this is nothing more than an extended TV episode.
Led by well-meaning Tommy, bossy Angelica and nervous Chuckie, the Rugrats gang head to Paris when the latter's dad is ordered to repair a busted animatronic monster at the amusement park EuroReptarland. What the little ones don't realise is that it's all a ploy cooked up by evil Coco LaBouche (Sarandon) to acquire herself a ready-made family in order to win a new job from her Japanese employers.
Apart from the amusing parodies of "The Godfather Part II" and Lady and the Tramp (similar in style to the Indiana Jones sequence from the first Rugrats film), there's little imagination and even less wit to be found here. Instead we get nauseating homilies on the values of friendship, family, and parenting and a soundtrack full to bursting with vacuous pop acts. Where is Uncle Walt when you need him?
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