Paramount // 2005 // 92 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // September 28th, 2005
The next chapter in the hard-hitting saga of the Rugrats...
All Grown Up is the Nickelodeon cartoon chronicling the adventures of the characters we were first introduced to in Rugrats, now...yep, you guessed it, all grown up. As such, the subject matter and comedy derives from different sources and tackles the grist kicking around in elementary school circles.
All Grown Up is, essentially, a prepubescent ensemble comedy, featuring eight kids: Dil and Tommy, Chuckie, Angelica, Susie, Phil and Lil, and Kimi. This eclectic group of eight sojourns on a variety of adventures, three of which have been packaged here for you.
Dude, Where's My Horse? features the double-length titular episode, plus two bonus episodes, "Blind Man's Bluff" and "Yu-Gotta-Go."
I never really watched Rugrats and have never seen a nanosecond of All Grown Up until I popped this disc into the old Toshiba. Having spent some time with this Nick cartoon, I will say I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. While not as witty as The Fairly Oddparents or as overexposed as Spongebob Squarepants, it's a good cartoon, funny and clever, and making good use of some topical kids humor. Specifically:
"Dude, Where's My Horse?" (parts 1 and 2)
The gang gets off their collective butts and embark on a week of summer fun at an authentic dude ranch. No one is more thrilled about the prospects of wrangling cattle and slinging hash than Tommy. But after a few days, the realization sinks in that he may not have what it takes to become a cowboy. As he sees all of his friends excel around him while he continually blows it, he doubts his potential. But as the week ends with a big ostrich drive -- where the kids will escort some ostriches across the arid terrain to a petting zoo -- Tommy will be shoe-horned into the role he always longed for.
This double-feature is pretty funny, though hugely predictable. Is there any doubt Tommy will triumph in the end? Of course not, but this is a kids' cartoon; it's entertaining and unleashes a few good lessons about selflessness and determination. However, the kids' battle with a poacher may not provide a good example. For you children reading this review, take it from me: do not mess with poachers.
"Blind Man's Bluff"
The kids are raring to go to Slosh Mountain, the coolest water park in the world. Susie will be singing in a special concert, Chuckie hesitantly deals with his fear of risky water rides, and Dil and Tommy are stuck babysitting their visually-impaired grandfather. When all three issues collide, a day of insanity will ensue.
This episode's title just might be the cleverest element of the show, but it's still pretty good. Check out the bevy of fun gags about water-park injuries.
The sweetest pastime in school is the card game craze Yu-Gotta-Go, and Chuckie refuses to get swept up in the hullabaloo. But he can't avoid the siren's call forever. After he learns that Angelica has a direct link to a limitless supply of cards, he agrees to do all of her chores in exchange for his own deck. The addiction creeps in and, despite the intervention of his friends, he spirals out of control, committed to defeating the reigning school champ, The Shark -- no matter what it takes.
Having once worked in an after-school program for third, fourth, and fifth-graders, I know the culture of these crazy-ass card games. This episode nails it, and sneaks in some hilarious spoofs of the import animation that goes with the incoherent card game.
Dude, Where's My Horse? sports a solid collection of episodes from pretty charming little kids show. That's all I've got.
Not guilty. Dude.
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 92 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus Episodes