Bébé's Kids

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Bébé's Kids
Bebes kids.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Bruce W. Smith
Produced by Reginald Hudlin
Willard Carroll
Thomas L. Wilhite
Screenplay by Reginald Hudlin
Based on Characters 
by Robin Harris
Starring Faizon Love
Vanessa Bell Calloway
Marques Houston
Jonell Green
Tone Lōc
Wayne Collins, Jr.
Myra J.
Nell Carter
Narrated by Faizon Love
Music by John Barnes
Edited by Tim Ryder (Documentary segment)
Lynne Southerland
Production
company
Hyperion Pictures
Collingswood O' Hare Entertainment
Character Builders
Wang Film Productions[1]
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • July 31, 1992 (1992-07-31)
Running time
72 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $8,442,162

Bébé's Kids (released on home media as Robin Harris' Bébé's Kids) is a 1992 American animated comedy film produced by Reginald Hudlin and Hyperion Pictures, directed by Bruce W. Smith, and released on July 31, 1992 by Paramount Pictures.

The first animated feature to feature an entirely African-American main cast,[original research?] the film is based upon comedian Robin Harris' "Bébé's Kids" stand-up comedy act. It features the voices of Faizon Love (In his film debut), Vanessa Bell Calloway, Marques Houston, Nell Carter, and Tone Lōc. Tom Everett, Rich Little, and Louie Anderson also lend their voices.

Plot[edit]

The film is based on a stand-up routine of Robin Harris that is shown in a brief live-action segment at the beginning of the film.

The story of the film begins with an animated version of Harris woefully recounting his troubles to a blind bartender. He traces his problems all the way back to Jamika, an attractive woman that he met at a funeral. Outside the premises, Robin approaches Jamika and asks her out. Jamika picks up her mild-mannered son, Leon, from the babysitter and invites Robin to come along with her to an amusement park named Fun World, to which Robin agrees. The next day, Jamika introduces Robin to the children of her friend Bébé: Kahlil, LaShawn, and Pee-Wee. The group travels to Fun World, but are confronted by security before they can enter and are warned that they are being watched. Upon entering the park, the kids are set loose and promptly wreak havoc.

After finally calming the kids down, Robin runs into his obnoxious ex-wife, Dorthea. After going on a couple of rides, Robin and Jamika let the kids off on their own again as they attempt to enjoy a ride through the Tunnel of Love, where Jamika commends Robin for his endurance. As Robin and Jamika go on a trip, Leon tries to fit himself in with Bébé's Kids, but is unsuccessful. The kids then resume their trouble until they are caught by the security. However, they escape from the security's trap and convince a bunch of other kids to spread the chaos. Meanwhile, Dorthea and her food-loving friend, Vivian, attempt to sabotage the growing relationship between Robin and Jamika, but are thwarted by Robin's mother insults. Elsewhere, in an abandoned building, Leon and Bébé's Kids are captured by robot versions of the Terminator, Abraham Lincoln, a bear, and Richard Nixon and are put on trial, in which the Terminator acts as the judge who decides whether the kids are worth sending to the electric chair, while Lincoln acts as the kids' lawyer, and Nixon as the prosecutor. The kids win their freedom through the power of rap, then celebrate their victory by stealing a pirate ship and crashing it into an ocean liner.

Robin and Jamika finally leave Fun World with the kids, as the park literally begins to fall apart. When a cop drives by, Robin tries to get the cop's attention; the cop flees after yelling "Uh oh, those are Bébé's Kids!" (a line spoken by several other characters). Robin drops Bébé's Kids off at their apartment, where he sees just how lonely their life really is. Bébé still has not returned home and left a note asking Jamika to feed the kids. Back at the bar, Robin has a change of heart and goes back to the kids to hang out with them longer. They then go to Las Vegas, where Bébé's Kids are recognized and everyone runs away screaming. Pee-Wee pulls a plug that lights the entire city causing a blackout.

Cast[edit]

  • Robin Harris as himself (Stand-up segment at the beginning)
Voice cast

Background[edit]

Original stand-up version[edit]

In the original act, Robin's prospective girlfriend asks him to take her and her son to Disneyland, but when he agrees she shows up with four kids.

As it turns out, Bébé's kids are extremely rambunctious, misbehaved, ill-tempered, and flat-out bad. They terrorize park staff, cut off Donald Duck's feet, try to steal Robin's 8-track/radio while he's listening to it, and make a general menace of themselves. Their reputation is so bad that even the police refuse to mess with them.

In a second act, the Kids and his girlfriend pick up Robin from a bar and make him take them to Las Vegas. Pee-Wee picks up a power cord and the power goes out.[3]

Animated film version[edit]

The film made a few changes to the original story, reducing the number of Bébé's kids from four to three (with the fourth depicted as Jamika's son instead), and moving the location from Disneyland to a generic amusement park named "Fun World", which is completely demolished by the kids' antics.

Also, the film was heavily toned down in content to make it more appropriate for family viewing, although it still got a PG-13 rating for mild language and rude humor.

Soundtrack[edit]

Bebe's Kids: Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Various artists
Released August 25, 1992
Label Capitol
  1. "Down Home Blues" – Z Z Hill
  2. "Tear It Up (On Our Worst Behavior)" – Immature
  3. "I Got It Bad, Y´All" – King Tee
  4. "I Got the 411" – Urban Prop
  5. "It Takes Two to Make a Party" – Maxi Priest featuring Little Shawn
  6. "66 Mello" – New Version of Soul
  7. "Oh No!" – Arrested Development
  8. "Straight Jackin'" – Bebe's Kids feat. Tone Loc
  9. "Freedom Song" – Bebe's Kids feat. Tone Loc
  10. "I Ain't Havin' It" – Faizon Love
  11. "Standing on the Rock of Love" – Aretha Franklin
  12. "Your Love Keeps Working on Me" – Joey Diggs
  13. "Can´t Say Goodbye" – The O'Jays
  14. "Deeper" – Ronald Isley
  15. "All My Love" – Phil Perry featuring Renée Diggs
  16. "I Want to Thank You for Your Love" – The Emotions

Reception[edit]

The film received generally negative reviews from critics, but well reviewed from the audience.[4][5][6]

The film currently holds a 25% 'Rotten' rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[7]

Box office[edit]

From an unknown, but most likely small, budget, Bébé's Kids earned a total $8,442,162 in North America.[8] The film opened at #7 with $3,010,987 in its opening weekend (7/31–8/2), behind Death Becomes Her, Honey, I Blew Up the Kid, Mo' Money, A League of Their Own, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Sister Act.[9][10][11] Bébé's Kids did not perform well theatrically.[12]

Home media[edit]

It was released on DVD on October 5, 2004, but was discontinued by Paramount in March 2008.[citation needed] The original theatrical and home video release were preceded by the short, Itsy Bitsy Spider.[citation needed] This title (including the Itsy Bitsy Spider short) was also released on Laserdisc in March 1993.

Video game[edit]

It was later adapted into a poorly reviewed[13] video game on the Super Nintendo in 1994.

Popular Culture[edit]

Demaryius Thomas, a wide receiver with the Denver Broncos and formerly with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, goes by the nickname "Bay Bay". It was given by his aunt as a reference to the bad kids in the movie. At Georgia Tech, he wore the name "B. Thomas" across the back of his jersey for the 2009 season.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Aleiss, Angela (1999-01-24). "MOVIES; Animated Features of a Different Hue; More films are using ethnic and minority characters, but there is still a dearth of African American roles.". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-21. 
  2. ^ Christon, Lawrence (1992-07-28). "Comic's Legacy: 'Bebe's Kids'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-03. 
  3. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXvPZxavVXc&feature=related
  4. ^ McBride, Joseph (1992-08-02). "Bebe's Kids'". Variety. Retrieved 2010-10-03. 
  5. ^ Thomas, Kevin (1992-08-01). "A Spirited Outing With 'Bebe's Kids'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-03. 
  6. ^ "'Bebe's Kids'". Washington Post. 1992-08-01. Retrieved 2010-10-03. 
  7. ^ Bébé's Kids at Rotten Tomatoes
  8. ^ http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=bebeskids.htm
  9. ^ Welkos, Robert W. (1994-05-10). "Weekend Box Office `Honors' Tops in a Lackluster Bunch". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-28. 
  10. ^ Spillman, Susan (August 3, 1992). "`Death' does lively box office". USA Today. 
  11. ^ Solomon, Charles (1994-01-04). "It's Tough to Stay Afloat in the Film-Cartoon Biz". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-03. 
  12. ^ Aleiss, Angela (1999-01-24). "MOVIES; Animated Features of a Different Hue; More films are using ethnic and minority characters, but there is still a dearth of African American roles.". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-21.  Nonetheless, it was possibly a success due to its unknown budget.
  13. ^ "Bebe's Kids for SNES - Gamerankings". Retrieved 2009-10-29. 

External links[edit]