An on-screen collision between the Rugrats and the Thornberrys was inevitable and, for most of its running time, Rugrats Go Wild! successfully exploits a series of run-ins between the two clans. Perhaps because the film follows so closely on the heels of The Wild Thornberrys Movie, the life-affirming Thornberrys play second fiddle to the Rugrats. Because the Rugrats have always been more subversive than the Thornberrys, this heavy focus in one direction works for the most part. The Rugrats happen to the Thornberrys when Stu Pickels (Jack Riley) gets his friends and family stuck on a deserted island after their dinky cruise ship sinks. Bitchy Angelica (Cheryl Chase) convinces Tommy that he has “a diaper full of dreams,” so it’s only a matter of time before the little tyke’s island adventures prove her wrong. Angelica steals the show, of course—when she isn’t engaging The Lord of the Flies, she belts out Joel Hirshhorn and Al Kasha’s “The Morning After” (from The Poseidon Adventure) to keep the troops entertained. No other song-and-dance number is anywhere near as good, but they’re all pretty easy to forgive considering the ridiculous flashes of absurdity, none more notable than Lil forcing her brother Phil to give up eating bugs (which subsequently forces him to take on a Smeagol-like personality). Stu is emasculated and wins everyone’s graces by film’s end and a curiously ennobled Debbie Thornberry gets quality time from her parents. The film does lose focus toward the end and kind of putters to a close (a series of underwater scenes may prove to be a little disturbing for younger kids), but there’s no offending sermon to talk down to the film’s demographic.
- John Eng, Norton Virgien
- Kate Boutilier
- Joe Alaskey, Nancy Cartwright, Lacey Chabert, Cheryl Chase, Tim Curry, E.G. Daily, Flea, Danielle Harris, Kath Souce, Tara Strong, Tom Kane, Cree Summer, Chrissie Hynde, Bruce Willis
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