The Rugrats Movie - * *

The Rugrats have made their way from Nickelodeon to the big screen, and the result is, well, alarmingly similar to the television cartoon.

For those unfamiliar with the animated series, it is centered on the point of view of several very young children (ranging in age from 1-2). The leader of the pack is Tommy Pickles (E.G. Daily), a bald, but fiesty, one year-old. His best friend is Chuckie Finster (Christine Cavanaugh). Also along for the ride are twins Phil and Lil DeVille (Kath Soucie), and obnoxiously precocious cousin Angelica (Cheryl Chase).

The film features the arrival of a new member in the Pickles household. Tommy gets a little brother, Dylan (aka Dill Pickles). This, of course, sets off a round of sibling rivalry, as Tommy must share the affections of his parents with this loud newcomer.

In an attempt to solve the problem, Tommy’s friends kidnap Dylan and (with Tommy in tow), try to return him to the hospital. Of course, the five babies soon get lost in the wilderness (despite a high-tech dragon wagon which provides their ride), and the film follows their attempts to get back home.

Despite a few desperate pop-culture references, The Rugrats Movie is strictly kids stuff. From its incessant diaper humor to a series of mispronounciations that only a Family Circus devotee could love, the film is too obnoxious for younger kids, yet too juvenile for those much older.

The animation style boasts a few computer-generated backgrounds, but overall isn’t that much more impressive than television quality. In fact, there’s very little about this film that calls for seeing it on the big screen.

The Rugrats Movie has the look and feel of a direct-to-video film. Unless you’re a hard-core Rugrats devotee, you can wait till then.

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