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
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
Budget 10 million
Box office $8.4 million

Bébé's Kids (released on home media as Robin Harris' Bébé's Kids) is an 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 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, as well as Tom Everett, Rich Little, and Louie Anderson. It was filmed in 1991.

Plot[edit]

The film is based on a stand-up routine by Robin Harris that is shown in a brief live-action segment at the beginning of the film. The story 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 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 Kahlil, LaShawn, and Pee-Wee, the neglected truant children of her absentee hedonistic friend, Bébé, for whom Jamika serves as an obliviously politically correct enabler. All six travel to Fun World, but are confronted by security before they can enter, and warned they are being watched. Upon entering the park, the kids are set loose and promptly wreak havoc. Robin's disastrous outing is further disrupted by a chance encounter with his ex-wife, Dorthea.

After going on a couple of rides with the kids, Robin and Jamika let the kids go off on their own again as they attempt to enjoy a ride through the Tunnel of Love, where Jamika commends Robin for his endurance. While Robin and Jamika spend time together on their own, Leon tries to fit in with Bébé's kids but is unsuccessful. The kids then resume their trouble until they are caught by security. However, they escape and convince a bunch of other kids to spread the chaos. Meanwhile, Dorthea and her friend Vivian attempt to sabotage the growing relationship between Robin and Jamika but are thwarted by Robin.

Elsewhere, in an abandoned building, Leon and Bébé's kids are captured by robot versions of the Terminator, Abraham Lincoln, and Richard Nixon, and are put on trial. The robot "Terminator" acts as the judge who decides whether the kids are worth sending to the electric chair, while "Lincoln" acts as the kids' defense attorney 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, tying up the crew and passengers.

Robin and Jamika finally leave Fun World with the kids who have destroyed the park. When a cop drives by, Robin tries to get his attention, but Bébé's kids glare at the cop threateningly and he flees, yelling, "Uh oh, those are Bébé's Kids!" (a line spoken by several other characters).

Robin drops the kids off at their apartment, where he sees how they really live. Bébé, as usual, is not home and has left a note on the empty refrigerator, expecting Jamika to feed the kids. Back at the bar, Robin has a change of heart and goes back to the apartment to hang out with the kids a little while longer. Later, the kids force him to take them all to Las Vegas, where the kids are recognized, and everyone runs away screaming. Pee-Wee pulls a plug out of a socket, 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, Jamika, asks him to take her and her son to an Disneyland-type amusement park, but when he agrees she shows up with four kids, three of whom are the children of her friend, Bébé, whom Jamika refuses to judge.

Bébé's kids are misbehaved truants and violent troublemakers. 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, literally destroying the park. Their reputation is so bad that even the police refuse to mess with them. In the second act, Robin is picked up from a bar by his girlfriend and the kids, who make him take them to Las Vegas. Pee-Wee pulls out a power cord and the city's 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]

Bébé'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 Lōc
  9. "Freedom Song" – Bebe's Kids feat. Tone Lōc
  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 was well received by audiences.[4][5][6] It currently holds a 25% "Rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[7]

Box office[edit]

Bebe's Kids did not perform well theatrically.[8]

From an unknown, but most likely small, budget, Bébé's Kids earned a total $8,442,162 in North America.[9] 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.[10][11][12]

Home media[edit]

Bébé's Kids was released on DVD on October 5, 2004. The original theatrical and home video release were preceded by the short, Itsy Bitsy Spider.[13] This title (including the Itsy Bitsy Spider short) was released on Laserdisc in March 1993.

Video game[edit]

The film was later adapted into a poorly reviewed[14] video game for the Super NES in 1994.

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. ^ YouTube
  4. ^ McBride, Joseph (1992-08-02). "Bébé'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. ^ ""Bébé's Kids"". Washington Post. 1992-08-01. Retrieved 2010-10-03. 
  7. ^ Bébé's Kids at Rotten Tomatoes
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ $8,442,162 earnings in North America, boxofficemojo.com; accessed March 28, 2016.
  10. ^ Welkos, Robert W. (1994-05-10). "Weekend Box Office "Honors Tops in a Lackluster Bunch"". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-28. 
  11. ^ Spillman, Susan (1992-08-03). "'Death' does lively box office". USA Today. 
  12. ^ Solomon, Charles (1994-01-04). "It's Tough to Stay Afloat in the Film-Cartoon Biz". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-03. 
  13. ^ "The Itsy Bitsy Spider: Trivia". IMDB.com. Retrieved 2015-01-12. 
  14. ^ "Bébé's Kids for SNES - Gamerankings". Retrieved 2009-10-29. 

External links[edit]