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July 8, 2010

The Little Rascals

by Franz Patrick


Little Rascals, The (1994)
★★★ / ★★★★

“The Little Rascals,” inspired by the “Our Gang” series back in the ’20s and ’30s, was one of those movies I kept encountering on cable on random weekends but never did get a chance to watch it from beginning to end. “The Little Rascals” was about a group of friends in a He-Man Womun Haters Club just being kids, but when Alfalfa (Bug Hall) fell in love with a girl (Brittany Ashton Holmes) who recently moved to the neighborhood, the rest of the gang, led by Spanky (Travis Tedford), tried to break them up in order to adhere to their tradition. I couldn’t help but think this movie was absolutely adorable because there was just something hilarious about children talking like much older adults. It was like watching “Kids Say the Darndest Things” on steroids. While some were disturbed by it, I thought it was very amusing. I thought the kids living in the ’90s but the way they spoke and dressed feeling so much older than they were was a nice constrast. I’ll be the first one to admit that the story wasn’t that great but the movie was really more about showcasing the cute kids and the energy it spent to consistently entertain. On that level, I think it was successful despite its lack of depth or complexity or character development. However, I haven’t seen the original television series so I can’t quite comment on how it managed to remain true to its source. I’m not a big fan of slapstick comedy but I think it worked here because everything about the picture was light and breezy (which reminded me of those “Beethoven” pictures with the St. Bernard in the ’90s). While watching it, I imagined myself as a child in order to evaluate whether the comedy was working. I’m a kid at heart so it wasn’t a stretch for me to change perspectives and I thought it could easily appeal to children. It also gave me a chance to look back on my childhood when things were simple so that was a definite plus. However, I wished that there were more scenes of the rivalry between Alfalfa and Waldo (Blake McIver Ewing) as the rich kid. Their interactions were a nice change from the cuteness (especially the scenes with Porky played by Zachary Mabry) and they showed why we should root for the lead character. I was happy to finally have seen the entire film after years of tuning in and out of it. If one takes the film for what it is and leaves the expectations at the door, one will most likely have a good time.

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