November 22, 2000 -- I didn't know quite what to expect from this movie since I have never seen a Rugrats cartoon before, but I was pleasantly surprised. Unlike many films, it has vulnerable, sympathetic characters and some beautiful artwork, too. Sure, there are crass, loud, belching, farting characters for comic relief, who are scheming manipulators. Some of them are barely above the level of lower animals. Maybe that is all most people expect from this kind of film, but it has a lot more to it than that.
Chas Finster and his son, Chuckie, go to Paris along with Stu Pickles and his family when Stu has to fix a large mechanical dinosaur which is malfunctioning in a Japanese-owned theme park. Chuckie has been lonely since his mother died and he wishes his father would remarry. He takes it up with the local godfather, the very bossy Angelica Pickles. She comes up with a scheme that backfires.
Chuckie and the rest of the Pickles kids are determined to set things right, even if they have to destroy Paris to accomplish their mission. Chuckie has to find his courage, Chas tries to find a new wife in a city made for romance and the rest of the kids have a great time tearing up the theme park. Chuckie and Chas are well-rounded characters, but most of the other characters are shallow and self-centered. Most of the kids are interested only in eating and other related bodily functions. The adults, however, are generally portrayed as reasonable people. Most comedies aimed at children portray adults as idiots.
Susan Sarandon provides the voice for the scheming Coco LaBouche, who runs the theme park, but has much higher ambitions, while John Lithgow provides the voice or her assistant, Jean-Claude, who never tires of making fun of his boss. Debbie Reynolds does the voice of Lulu Pickles. There are some very nice images in the film and great use of color. Some scenes are beautiful. Chuckie and Chas are characters of such sweetness and vulnerability that you can't help but root for them. They are what some people call losers, but they have a certain nobility and humanity that can't be denied. This film rates a B.
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