Paramount // 2004 // 95 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Dennis Prince (Retired) // January 12th, 2005
The Rugrats have traded in their bottles for braces and their diapers for detention. They're all grown up and ready for a whole new batch of post-toddler travails and triumphs.
Those energetic and inventive curtain climbers you came to know and love as The Rugrats have graduated from their pre-school pranks and have advanced to the big time of grammar school goofiness. And although they may be big kids now, these pre-pubescent pals are still alternately clashing and collaborating as they navigate the perils of their pre-teen existence in All Grown Up! On this new DVD collection, you'll find the following Nickelodeon adventures of Chuckie, Tommy, Angelica, Kimi, and the rest of the Rugrats gang:
* "Brother, Can You Spare the Time?"
Tommy Pickles is awarded First Prize for his amateur film, and the gang wants to throw a surprise celebration for him. Tommy's brother, Dil, is concerned that fame and fortune will soon follow and that he'll never be able to spend time with his brother again. Meanwhile, Chuckie's terrified he'll give away the surprise due to his unerring honesty, so the gang enlists obnoxious Angelica to give the bespectacled boy a fast lesson in effective lying.
* "Tommy Foolery"
Dil Pickles, a committed extraterrestrial sympathizer, is convinced aliens have contacted him and are attempting to coordinate a face-to-face meeting. Day by day, Dil encounters signs of the aliens' intentions of engagement and is certain he'll finally meet intelligent beings from another world. Trouble is, the whole thing is just a prank that Tommy and the gang are putting on, but they soon discover that maybe their joke has gone too far.
* "The Old & the Restless"
Tommy and his classmates are stoked to experience the thrills and chills of the Human Body Museum and amusement park. Grandpa Lou, however, has volunteered to chaperone the class, and ends up testing Tommy's patience and family loyalty. The old geezer is more than verbose in explaining exhibits while alternately sharing personal war stories. Will Tommy succumb to peer pressure in defiance of his generally well-regarded grandfather?
* "Bad Kimi"
Is it bad-bad-bad-bad-boys that makes Kimi feel good? Her brother, Chuckie, is afraid this might be the case, as his sister has fallen head over heels for rumored bad seed Z, a quasi-punk kid who might be mixed up in all sorts of unsavory activities. Kimi must be saved from her blind love for the up-and-coming hoodlum.
Following the steady success of their Rugrats series, Nickelodeon decided it had better keep pace with the impetuous preschoolers' audience by offering a new set of adventures for the maturing masses. The result, All Grown Up!, performs reasonably well but doesn't offer much more beyond what the initial series had already achieved; the kids are a bit older, but the adventures are pretty much the same. Nonetheless, there is some entertainment value inherent in this playful extension of the original series that will likely amuse the 8- to 13-year-old crowd. It offers family friendly fare that will sometimes dance along the edge of becoming crass yet never really offends. To that end, the content is appropriate for households where young viewers can watch without parental intervention. Adults can watch along, too, but will likely be left nonplussed by the tepid adventures at hand.
Each episode is presented in its original 1.33:1 full frame format, and given this is all current material, the image quality is as good as you'd expect it to be. The picture is sharp but shows signs of slightly overactive edge enhancement. Colors are rich and stable, and, thankfully, don't seep into the neighboring tones and hues. The audio performs pleasantly in a Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mix (available in English and Spanish) that fills out a reasonably-sized aural soundstage. The overall content of this disc, unfortunately, embodies the usual pandering to young viewers that we've come to see in other such kid-targeted products from Paramount and other studios. The case artwork advertises "two kickin' episodes" are to be found inside plus "2 bonus episodes!" At a retail price of $16.99, it seems Paramount should come clean and announce it's a four-episode offering with no bonus features. To that end, the only extras to be found are a trailer for A Series of Unfortunate Events as well as several promos for other Nickelodeon shows and products.
In all, All Grown Up! -- O' Brother! is not a bad disc and will provide an hour and a half of safe and sane entertainment, but it's disappointing to see another studio market "down" to an emerging age group of soon-to-be DVD consumers. "Oh brother" is right. If you're all grown up, you'll find this is better to rent than to purchase.
Review content copyright © 2005 Dennis Prince; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (Spanish)
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus Episodes
* Nickelodeon Promos