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'Rugrats in Paris': Oui Oui!

By Desson Howe
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 17, 2000


    'Rugrats in Paris' The Rugrats run amok in "Rugrats in Paris: The Movie."
(Paramount Pictures)

The catchy opening of Baha Men's big-selling single is also one of the big numbers in the enjoyable "Rugrats in Paris: The Movie."

At a recent sneak preview of "Rugrats," almost everyone belted out the next part of the song: "Woof, woof, woof, woof!"

I'm talking kids, and more than a few parents, singing and barking with full-throated abandon. It was hard to tell if this was a movie with a soundtrack or the other way around.

Either way, and even if they don't sing along, your children (of the "Rugrat"-viewing age, natch) are almost certain to have a great time. Tommy, Chuckie and the rest of the 'rats, who fly to Paris for fun, romance (well, for Chuckie's Dad, Chas) and finding squishy stuff to pick up off on the floor to eat, are in top form.

Producers Arlene Klasky and Gabor Csupo (who created the "Rugrats" television show with Paul Germain) have attempted to make this 80-minute drama feel like a movie (as opposed to another "Rugrats" show) with the Paris scenario, shots of enormous structures, such as the Eiffel Tower or EuroReptarland, and that rousing song.

The story: The EuroReptarland authorities have invited Stu Pickles (voice of Jack Riley) to visit their site to work on his invention, the giant Reptar dinosaur. This is a great excuse for the Rugrats to tread all over the sacred city. While the kids terrorize the Gallic neighborhood, Chas (voiced by Michael Bell) is the unwitting victim of a nasty scheme by a certain Coco La Bouche (Susan Sarandon), the theme park manager, who needs to find a marital mate quickly, so her family-values boss will promote her.

Well, hey, it's no less of a "movie" than the classic "Beavis and Butt-head Do America." And what do the kids care, anyway? They get time with their favorite characters, popcorn and the chance to laugh at the Great Unmentionables, from boogers to flatulence. And no one will be indifferent to the scene in a karaoke bar, in which three oversized Sumo singers (dressed in their minimal, diapered glory) perform a lip-synch version of Donna Summer's "Bad Girl."

There's a nice abundance of in-jokes, too, for any bored-out-of-their-skull grown-ups in the audience. EuroReptarland is obviously a parody of Disney'sParis park. Coco is Cruella DeVil once removed. And there are hilarious take-offs of kung-fu flicks and "The Godfather," in which Chuckie (Christine Cavanaugh), dressed in a suit and sitting in front of sunlight-striated venetian blinds, does an excellent Brando. And those one-liners are almost worth the price of admission.

"Run along," says Coco, feigning affection for a little Rugrat. "Before you give me lice."

Don't tell your children why you're snickering. Just tell them to listen for the next booger joke.

"Rugrats in Paris: The Movie" (G, 80 minutes) – Contains cartoon baby butts and yucky green stuff that Phil and Lil DeVille stuff into their diapers. Groooosssssss!


Copyright 2000 The Washington Post Company

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