Faster-paced and noisier than its predecessor, the revved-up sequel's obsession with potty humor will likely have some parents exclaiming "mon Dieu" or, at least, "mon doo-doo." But despite the film's rather frenetic efforts to address pint-sized attention spans, there's plenty to amuse kids and their long-suffering caregivers.
Armed with those trademark satirical and tenderhearted moments, not to mention the Baha Men's ridiculously catchy "Who Let the Dogs Out" on the soundtrack, those irresistible Rugrats should do some gross stuff at the boxoffice before cleaning up on video.
After a funny "Godfather" parody, the new adventure begins when one of Stu Pickles' (voiced by Jack Riley) mechanical Reptar inventions goes seriously on the fritz, and he and the rest of the Rugrats roster is dispatched to Paris, home of the dazzling EuroReptarland amusement park.
It doesn't take long for plotting Angelica (Cheryl Chase) to meet her match with the attraction's kid-hating manager, the Cruella De Vil-lainous Coco La Bouche (Susan Sarandon), who's angling for a major promotion but needs to first set herself up as a loving family person.
She quickly sets her sights on widowed Charles Finster (Michael Bell), whose perpetually congested son Chuckie (Christine Cavanaugh, a k a the voice of Babe the pig) has been pining for a new Mom.
Ultimately, the good guys see through her little scheme -- but not before Angelica, Chuckie, Tommy, Phil, Lil, Baby Dil and company manage to effectively trash the City of Lights.
Once again, the character work is strong, and the celebrity recruits are fun, including Sarandon, being uncharacteristically nasty; John Lithgow as her pretentious personal assistant, Jean-Claude; and, in cameo turns, Debbie Reynolds as Grandpa Lou's new love interest, Tim Curry as a sumo karaoke singer and Casey Kasem as -- surprise -- a DJ.
And while it seems they could have toned it all down a few notches without fear of losing their audience, co-directors Stig Bergqvist and Paul Demeyer -- working from a script credited to J. David Stem and David N. Weiss (both of whom penned "The Rugrats Movie") along with series writers Jill Gorey, Barbara Herndon and Kate Boutilier -- do a good job of keeping things moving, physically and emotionally.
Technically speaking, the animation, while definitely not state-of-the-art, is richer than that found on the TV version. The computer-generated images have been retouched by hand to give the characters more warmth.
In addition to those infectious "Dogs", the inspired Maverick soundtrack surrounds the bouncy Mark Mothersbaugh score with similarly energetic tracks by the likes of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Isaac Hayes and TLC's "T-Boz" Watkins as well as quieter things by Cyndi Lauper and Sinead O'Connor.
RUGRATS IN PARIS: THE MOVIE
Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies
present a Klasky/Csupo production
Directors: Stig Bergqvist, Paul Demeyer
Producers: Arlene Klasky, Gabor Csupo
Screenwriters: J. David Stern & David N. Weiss, Jill Gorey & Barbara Herndon, Kate Boutilier
Executive producers: Albie Hecht, Julia Pistor, Eryk Casemiro, Hal Waite
Production designer: Dima Malantichev
Editor: John Bryant
Music: Mark Mothersbaugh
Music supervisor: George Acogny
Coco La Bouche: Susan Sarandon
Jean-Claude: John Lithgow
Tommy Pickles: E.G. Daily
Chuckie Finster: Christine Cavanaugh
Phil and Lil Deville: Kath Soucie
Angelica Pickles: Cheryl Chase
Stu Pickles: Jack Riley
Chas Finster: Michael Bell
Kira Watanabe: Julia Kato
Kimi: Dionne Quan
Running time - 86 minutes
MPAA rating: G