Judge Dennis Prince has been seeking parenting advice from just about every source imaginable. Does Nickelodeon hold the answers to his burning questions on effective child rearing?
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 Foolery"
• "The Old & the Restless"
• "Bad Kimi"
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.
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