Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Bruce W. Smith|
|Produced by||Reginald Hudlin
Thomas L. Wilhite
|Screenplay by||Reginald Hudlin|
by Robin Harris
Vanessa Bell Calloway
Wayne Collins, Jr.
|Narrated by||Faizon Love|
|Music by||John Barnes|
|Edited by||Tim Ryder (Documentary segment)
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|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 first animated feature-length film 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, as well as Tom Everett, Rich Little, and Louie Anderson.
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 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 warned that 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 obnoxious 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 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. The "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.
Robin and Jamika finally leave Fun World with the kids, as the park begins to fall apart. When a cop drives by, Robin tries to get his attention, but 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 has left a note asking 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 longer. Later, they 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 #1
- Tom Everett as Security Guard #2
- Rich Little as President Nixon
- John Witherspoon as Card Player #1
- George Wallace as Card Player #4
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 the second act, Robin is picked up from a bar by the kids and his girlfriend, after which they 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
- "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 Lōc
- "Freedom Song" – Bebe's Kids feat. Tone Lōc
- "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.
Bébé's Kids 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.
Demaryius Thomas, a wide receiver with the Denver Broncos and formerly with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, goes by the nickname "Bay Bay", 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.
- 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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- "'Bebe's Kids'". Washington Post. 1992-08-01. Retrieved 2010-10-03.
- 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 3, 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.
- "The Itsy Bitsy Spider: Trivia". IMDB. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
- "Bebe's Kids for SNES - Gamerankings". Retrieved 2009-10-29.