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Rugrats Go Wild (2003)

The family vacation just went overboard

Rating: 3/10

Running Time: 84 minutes

UK Certificate: U

Hot on the heels of ‘Spy Kids 3-D’ and its free super-specs comes yet another gimmick-powered kiddy-flick. This time, the freebie being handed out at theatres across the country is a scratch and sniff card – though the only thing that really smells about this third ‘Rugrats’ movie is the putrid stench of thick, thick capitalism.

On the bit of cardboard handed to you at the door you’ll see an array of numbered pictures. So number 1 is a strawberry, 2’s a jar of peanut butter, 3’s a flower of some sort, 4’s a whopping great foot, 5’s a glass of milkshake and 6 is a big ol’ ugly fish. And it truly is incredible how the manufacturers manage to get each one to smell exactly like cardboard.

The story itself sees Tommy, Chuckie and the rest of the ‘Rugrats’ gang marooned on a tropical island with no obvious means of escape. Thankfully, ‘The Wild Thornberrys’ – a family of wildlife experts with a daughter who can secretly talk to animals – just happen to be on the same island filming their TV nature show. Lots of singing, dancing, and squabbling ensues, though none of it comes even close to capturing either the charm or humour of the baby-based small screen cartoon.

Bruce Willis joins the voice-over cast as Spike the dog, and he’s in impressive company – Tim Curry, Nancy Cartwright, Lacey Chabert, Chrissie Hynde, LL Cool J and Flea are also on board.

Younger fans of either ‘Rugrats’ or ‘The Wild Thornberrys’ will probably find everything they want and more in this latest adventure. Unfortunately, there’s very little in here for anyone else, and even the quality of the animation is less than striking. Parents’ best bet for passing the time is playing ‘spot the film reference’ – among those I managed to pick out were The Matrix, ‘Titanic’, ‘Planet of the Apes’, ‘Star Wars’, ‘Gilligan’s Island’ and ‘A Perfect Storm’. If you can resist the temptation to nod off, you’ll probably notice a few more in there as well

It's Got: Bruce Willis exercising his singing voice for quite possibly the first time since ‘Under The Boardwalk’.

It Needs: To include more for the whole family, instead of just the tots


Definitely one that’s just for the die-hard (no Bruce Willis pun intended) fans of either TV series.