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28 October 2014

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U Rugrats Go Wild (2003)
Reviewed by Neil Smith

updated 6th August 2003

reviewer's rating
two star


John Eng
Norton Virgien

Kate Boutilier

Elizabeth Daily
Nancy Cartwright
Tim Curry
Bruce Willis
Chrissie Hynde

81 minutes


8th August 2003


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The new Rugrats movie - the third, just in case you were counting - certainly pulls out all the stops in its attempts to hold the attention of its hyperactive target audience.

Not only does it team its nappy-wearing heroes with the stars of another kiddies' TV show, The Wild Thornberrys (thus populating the screen with twice as many gap-toothed, cornstalk-limbed, big-headed freaks). It also uses John Waters' old scratch-and-sniff 'Odorama' gimmick to enable punters to smell various aromas (flowers, strawberries, an infant's feet) at the same time the characters do.

However, unless you're a Nickelodeon executive or a six-year-old who's never heard of Pixar, you'll be fervently hoping such desperate tactics signal the end of this tiresome spin-off franchise.

Shipwrecked and stranded on a desert island, things look bad for Tommy, Chuckie, Angelica, and their bickering parents.

Fortunately, for them at least, they're not alone. Itinerant nature documentarian Sir Nigel Thornberry (Tim Curry) and his clan are also on the island to film a rare white leopard (voiced by Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders).

Since Nigel's daughter Eliza (Lacey Chabert) has a Dr Dolittle-style ability to talk to animals, we finally find out what Rugrats pooch Spike sounds like. The bad news is he sounds precisely like Bruce Willis.

Still, the dog's lame wisecracks and some sly nods to "Cast Away", "The Perfect Storm", and "Planet of the Apes" provide a little respite from the sub-standard animation and a screenplay that trots out sentimental homilies on the importance of friendship and family like they're going out of fashion.

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