Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Bruce W. Smith|
|Produced by||Reginald Hudlin
Thomas L. Wilhite
|Screenplay by||Reginald Hudlin|
by Robin Harris
|Narrated by||Faizon Love|
Vanessa Bell Calloway
Wayne Collins, Jr.
|Music by||John Barnes|
|Editing by||Tim Ryder (Documentary segment)
Collingswood O' Hare Entertainment
Wang Film Productions
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Running time||72 minutes|
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, the film is based upon comedian Robin Harris' "Bébé's Kids" stand-up comedy act. It features the voices of Faizon Love, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Marques Houston, Nell Carter, and Tone Lōc. Tom Everett, Rich Little, and Louie Anderson also lend their voices.
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.
- Robin Harris as himself (Stand-up segment at the beginning)
- Voice cast
- Faizon Love as Robin Harris
- Vanessa Bell Calloway as Jamika
- Marques Houston as Kahlil
- Jonell Green as LaShawn
- Tone Lōc as Pee-Wee
- Wayne Collins, Jr. as Leon
- Myra J. as Dorthea
- Nell Carter as Vivian
- Phillip Glasser as Winthrop "Opie"
- Louie Anderson as Security guard
- Tom Everett
- Rich Little
Original stand-up version
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.
Animated film version
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.
|Bebe's Kids: Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack|
|Soundtrack album by Various artists|
|Released||August 25, 1992|
- "Down Home Blues" – Z Z Hill
- "Tear It Up (On Our Worst Behavior)" – Immature featuring Jermaine Dupri
- "I Got It Bad, Y´All" – King Tee
- "I Got the 411" – Urban Prop
- "It Takes Two to Make a Party" – Maxi Priest featuring Little Shawn
- "66 Mello" – New Version of Soul
- "Oh No!" – Arrested Development
- "Straight Jackin'" – Bebe's Kids feat. Tone Loc
- "Freedom Song" – Bebe's Kids feat. Tone Loc
- "I Ain't Havin' It" – Faizon Love
- "Standing on the Rock of Love" – Aretha Franklin
- "Your Love Keeps Working on Me" – Joey Diggs
- "Can´t Say Goodbye" – The O'Jays
- "Deeper" – Ronald Isley
- "All My Love" – Phil Perry featuring Renée Diggs
- "I Want to Thank You for Your Love" – The Emotions
From an unknown, but most likely small, budget, Bébé's Kids earned a total $8,442,162 in North America. 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. Bébé's Kids did not perform well theatrically.
It was released on DVD on October 5, 2004, but was discontinued by Paramount in March 2008. The original theatrical and home video release were preceded by the short, Itsy Bitsy Spider. This title (including the Itsy Bitsy Spider short) was also released on Laserdisc in March 1993.
- 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.
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- Bébé's Kids at Rotten Tomatoes
- Welkos, Robert W. (1994-05-10). "Weekend Box Office `Honors' Tops in a Lackluster Bunch". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-28.
- Spillman, Susan (August 03, 1992). "`Death' does lively box office". USA Today.
- Solomon, Charles (1994-01-04). "It's Tough to Stay Afloat in the Film-Cartoon Biz". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-03.
- 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.
- "Bebe's Kids for SNES - Gamerankings". Retrieved 2009-10-29.