Directors – Stig Bergqvist & Paul Demeyer, Screenplay – Kate Boutilier, Jill Gorey, Barbara Herndon, J. David Stem & David N. Weiss, Producers – Gabor Csupo & Arlene Klasky, Music – Mark Mothersbaugh, Music Supervisor – George Acogny, Animation – Grimsaem Animation Co, Ltd. (Supervising Director – Jong-Chul Park), Production Design – Diana Mulanitchev. Production Company – Paramount/Nickelodeon/Klarsky-Csupo/MFP Munich Film Partners GmbH & Co Rugrats Productions KG
Christine Cavanaugh (Chuckie Finster), Cheryl Chase (Angelica Pickles), Susan Sarandon (Coco LaBouche), Michael Bell (Chas Finster), E.G. Daily (Tommy Pickles), Tara Strong (Dill Pickles), Cree Summer Franck (Susie Carmichael), Kath Soucie (Betty DeVille/Lil DeVille/Phil DeVille), Jack Riley (Stu Pickles), Julia Kato (Kira Watanabe), John Lithgow (Jean-Claude), Dionne Quan (Kimi Watanabe), Mako (Mr Yamaguchi)
After the death of young Chuckie Finster’s mother, Chuckie’s father Chas is looking for a new wife. Stu Pickles is then hurriedly called to Paris to repair the giant Reptar robot at the Reptarland amusement park. He is invited to take the other Rugrat families along with him. Once there, the Rugrats proceed to run wild in the park’s offices. Angelica happens to hide under the desk of the park’s CEO Coco LaBouche. There she overhears Coco on a video conference call where Coco is told that she is up for the presidency but has to appear more child-friendly in order to get the job. Discovered by Coco, Angelica tells Coco how Chas is desperate for a wife in return for the promise of her own float in the Reptarland parade. Though she cannot stand kids, Coco sets out with the intention of ensnaring Chas into marrying her.
Rugrats in Paris was the second theatrical movie spun off from the popular Nickelodeon animated tv series Rugrats (1991-4, 1997-2004). It was preceded by The Rugrats Movie (1998) and followed by Rugrats Go Wild/The Rugrats Meet the Wild Thornberrys (2003). I will admit straight up that I have a hatred for the Rugrats and that I found it a major effort to review the first film. The kids firing off smartass one-liners in high-pitch falsettos, the perpetual jokes about pee and poop, humour centred around slapstick chaos and overrun with pop culture in-references and schmaltz, all serve to push the buttons of the things I hate in a big way about certain children’s and animated films.
All of that said, I must admit that I found Rugrats in Paris a more likeable film than The Rugrats Movie. There are still a lot of poo, pee and goo jokes – the dog even gets to pee on the Eiffel Tower and the film culminates in a food fight. The scenes with the park guards invariably descend into slapstick shenanigans – although at least the concept of Ooey Gooey World, where there is an excess of slime and goo, is an appealing idea that one is sure that somebody could make their millions off in the real world. There are still all the annoying pop culture references – lines like “You can’t handle the truth” from A Few Good Men (1992), impressions of Marlon Brando in The Godfather (1972), gags about the glass of water trembling with the approach of the monster from Jurassic Park (1993), as well as the use of Baha Men’s Who Let the Dogs Out (2001). Most of these are adult films/song lyrics that this film’s target audience are unlikely to be aware of – or if they are makes one wonder exactly what the parents are letting their children watch. The cutest of the references is seeing the two dogs re-enact the classic meatballs scene from Lady and the Tramp (1955) with a piece of pizza. The film climaxes in a big set piece with the kids piloting a giant robotic Reptar that has waldos that mimic the gait of the kids as it staggers through the streets, while followed by a giant snail robot. It is certainly mildly more enjoyable than the first film, although this is all relative.