Tooncrap #24 - Bebe's Kids

This movie died, and it certainly did not multiply!
Paramount: 1992

Written by: Raymond Gallant

Let me talk to you about a man named Robin Harris. Harris was a comedian in the 80's who was starting to earn some mainstream attention. One of the big reasons for the attention was a part of his stand up routine where he talks about Bebe's Kids, three cruel kids who pretty much made him look like a fool and made life hell for him. The skit was popular enough that Bebe's Kids was going to be Robin's first big main starring role.

However, on March 18th, 1990, Robin Harris died of a heart attack at the age of 36. That didn't stop Robin's Bebe's Kids skit from becoming a movie however, and in 1992 Paramount Pictures would bring it to the world... to mostly negative feedback.

So, I figured it's as good a time as any to finally cover this long awaited induction. Is Bebe's kids as bad as most claim? Let's see how it goes as we review this thing.

The movie opens in a rather classy way by showing some of Robin Harris' comedy, particularly that of his Bebe's Kids material interspliced with animated footage of said Bebe's kids causing all sorts of mayhem. So that at least shows that the writers did pay some respect to Harris and his work. So the movie gets off to a good start.

We then move to the actual animated Robin heading to a bar in a particularly sour mood. At first he doesn't want to talk about what's bugging him, but is quick to lament to the blind bartender about the trouble of a woman he met at a funeral for a friend (of sorts) named Walter. Instantly infatuated with Walter's secretary by the name of Jamika, he follows her home, and even asks for a drive since he is without car for the evening.

Robin's charm (or lack thereof) isn't working on Jamika, but she takes him with her as she has to pick up her son Leon from the babysitters. After dazzling the young lad about the adventures of Dolemite, they hit it off, as Leon is a good kid all around. Still trying to get good with Jamika, he willingly offers to take them to Funworld (ah Funworld, the Metro City of uninspired amusement park names), blissfully unaware of what would be coming with them.

The next day comes, and he drives to Jamika's place ready for a day of fun with the three of them. But it turns out that the trip is now being accompanied with Bebe's three children. Bullyish older sister LaShawn, Militant Kahlil, and, or course...

Baby Ton Loc, whose big gimmick is he craps his diaper

We get to see the titular Bebe's kids bad reputation immediately as they have fun punching around Leon. They eventually make it to Fun World, and Robin is immediately felt up by a state trooper (even making what appears to be a clear cut Rodney King reference in the process).

While Robin is paying to get into the park, Kahlil encounters Funworld security, who are already giving him a hard time, and warn him that the entire park is under strict surveillance. It's less of a Funworld and more NSA California Adventure. It doesn't help that the rules in the park are massive, pretty much not allowing you to run, cut in line, have a bad attitude, or littering. And more importantly

No Vibes
No Bevis

So, of course it takes all of five seconds for LaShawn and Kahlil to start chaos in the gift shop all while we get a song from Robin that feels weirdly out of place. Robin eventually tries to intervene, but PeeWee (that's the Tone Loc baby BTW) is busy smashing glass in the house of glass, which feels like a terrible place to have in an amusement park. But despite that, this has been a pretty rough day for Robin, but it could always be worse.

See, it could and does get worse. His ex-wife Dorthea and her friend Vivian are also conveniently at Funworld. But they don't give Robin much of an issue yet, as the kids drag Robin on to a bunch of dangerous rides, which eventually makes them a bit easier with Robin for the time being. They leave Robin and Jamika alone to go on the tunnel of love. Not before Robin gives Leon advice to finally nut up and make Bebe's kids respect him.

In the tunnel of love, it leads to both a song, and what is some of the better animation in the film. Which is pretty easy since to be honest, the animation has been rather sub par. Pretty much showing Jamika and Robin getting closer while Dorthea and Vivian constantly fail at splitting them apart.

Back to the kids who continue to be annoying little shits, until they run into the security once again, who escort them against their will into a small world-ish monorail about how FunWorld pretty much rips off their customers. They escape, and raid the conveniently placed toy store in the monorail. Security tries to fight back, but end up being easily beaten.

This leads to another song as Bebe's kids rap about how bad ass they are while beating down the assorted costumed mascots. They get chased by the security some more, and they run into a some sort of underground facility in FunWorld, while the security are being distracted by other kids that Bebe's kids met along the way.
While that's going down, Robin and Jamika turn out to be infatuated with one another. That is of course until Dorthea and Vivian tell Jamika about her past with him, saying that he's a bad father. With Jamika now mad at him, Robin tries to remedy the situation in the only way possible... by lying about her past with Dorthea.

Back to the kids, as Kahlil ends up being captured by a giant robot. Because, you know, that should happen in this film. For the most part, it seemed like a movie dipped in some sense of a normal reality, but all of a sudden we have robots and a sudden shift into the more fantastical. Turns out all the animatronics are alive and after the kids. But they are eventually rescued by, who else...

Robot Abe Lincoln.

Robo-Abe suggests that Kahlil is given a fair trial, complete with the prosecutor being robotic Richard Nixon, who proves Kahlil is guilty of robocide. Turns out that not even Robo-Abe can't save the day, but Leon and the others defend Kahlil's innocence in rap form.

With Leon getting a bit TOO into the song.

It turns out to work however, and the kids escape.

Meanwhile, Robin finally fesses up about Dorthea to Jamika, as he learns about the lies she's been spreading. They confront the two in an argument that devolves into "yo Momma" jokes. The kids are confronted by the security guards again, and end up on a pirate ship ride. And with their army of child privateers, they attack a Titanic cruise ride, that conveniently Robin and Jamika have boarded.

They Commandeer the boat while Robin escapes, trying to full on ditch Bebe's kids. But they end up there in plenty of time. As they leave, Fun World literally falls to pieces. Finally sick of the day he's had, Robin drops Bebe's kids at home. However, he quickly realizes that Bebe's still nowhere to be found, which makes him start to feel remorse for them.

However, he still sticks to his guns and wants to be done of the whole thing. This leads us back to the bar as he eventually comes to the error of his ways, and goes back to get them. And so it all looks like it's all a happy ending with the group heading to Vegas...

Except that Pee-Wee unplugs the entire town in the most poorly placed plug of all time. The end.

And that's Bebe's Kids. I don't think this movie is horrible. Especially compared to other animated films I've covered for Tooncrap. But there are still a ton of issues that the film does suffer from. The animation, while far from the worst does feel really cheap for a theatrical film. Character designs range from decent to weird. Robin at times looks like he could be a certified bobble head.

Speaking of Robin, his subplot with Jamika is honestly pretty dull. However, the parts with Bebe's kids feel a little too out of control and move at such a pace you can't really digest most of it. It's fitting it's set in an amusement park as the film often feels like a series of rides. We go to one than another, then another with very little to anything involved. As for the comedy sides, there were a few funny moments, but nothing overly hilarious. On the music side, save for a couple of the songs around the end, most of it is pretty forgettable, or poorly placed.

In the end though, while I wouldn't recommend Bebe's Kids, I still think it's probably the best thing I've watched on Tooncrap in a while. There are far worse movies to sit through, and if this was all you had with no alternatives, you might find some enjoyment out of it. It's flawed, but it's certainly not one of the worst products of all time.

The Super Nintendo game on the other hand...