Rugrats: The Movie

Nickelodeon's Rugrats cartoon has distinguished itself by not being anywhere near as godawful or as morally abhorrent as most televised children's entertainment. Now, having lasted seven years on TV, it has finally made its way onto the big screen, but its modest charms simply can't sustain a feature-length film. Rugrats: The Movie, like the show, concerns the adventures of a group of spunky, creepy-looking toddlers, particularly one Tommy Pickles, who feels alienated following the birth of his brother, Dil. The spunky Rugrats, intending to "return" Dil, set out for the hospital, and in the process get lost, leading to one seriously boring film. Rugrats: The Movie gets off to a good start, with some amusing, albeit tame, satire revolving around the status-conscious, materialistic lives of the toddlers' parents. But after the Rugrats get lost, the filmmakers focus almost exclusively on the irritating little brats, and the film devolves into an interminable episode of the show, albeit one in which things periodically slow down for forgettable songs. Oddly, the most interesting thing about Rugrats: The Movie is the eccentric performers on its soundtrack: On this sort of heavily hyped, high-profile project, you sort of expect the presence of kiddie favorites like Busta Rhymes, No Doubt, and Jakob Dylan, but, perhaps due to the presence of Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh as the film's composer, Rugrats: The Movie also features such luminaries as the Violent Femmes' Gordon Gano, Patti Smith, Laurie Anderson, and The B-52s' Cindy Wilson, Kate Pierson, and Fred Schneider. And while you kind of have to give credit to any film that features the voice of Laurie Anderson emanating from the body of a gurgling, unpleasant-looking infant, that's not enough to overcome the basic uselessness of this disposable piece of product.

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