Movie Review by Debbie Winkler
Discover how Ruby, Nate, Chip and Olaf rose from their beginnings as humble Idaho potatoes became global singing superspuds! The four potatoes sing their way through different styles and different locations introducing children to many different types of music as the four singers fight and reunite throughout their career.
I am not sure what to think about this movie. I know that it is supposed to be a spoof on the music industry and I could not help but think of The Beatles, though they never had a female member of their singing group. I don’t know if this is intentional or not, but there were so many parallels that I could not help but think of this. The animated feature shows the potatoes working their way through Broadway and Las Vegas before they hit the big time. They fight about who has to share the spotlight and who is the most famous and popular. Then they fight over which style of music they are going to perform. Disco and punk music are fought over with two members of the band trying to push their preferred form on the other members. My favorite part of the movie was when they showed pictures in the background of the most famous performers when they were discussing various styles. The potatoes would then sing a brief song that was in the disco, Broadway, punk, etc. style so that younger viewers can get a feel for what the music sounds like.
The whole story is told through interviews with people. The four potatoes themselves tell a bit of the story, but their agent and fans tell the bulk of it. It was interesting to see everyone’s different point of view and perspective. Their agent always insisted that the band’s arguments in the public eye were scripted. The fans were heartbroken when the band they loved and admired split up. Many agreed that the member who decided to split to go solo was being selfish and that they wanted the band to stay together regardless of their personal feelings. In many ways, Meet the Small Potatoes is a mockumentary about bands. Unfortunately, this movie tells an all-too-familiar story of fame and fortune leading to fighting and hatred amongst people who used to be close friends and/or family. It is told in a light-hearted way and the ending has a strong positive message after the band reunites for a performance, but I think this was temporary.
Though this movie is a bit odd, it is a solid introduction to various types of music. The small potatoes sing a lot in the movie and, although their songs are fairly short, some of the music is enjoyable for older viewers. I know that younger children are always captivated by music in these cartoons and I think that Meet the Small Potatoes will appeal to some younger viewers, but it will be limited to preschoolers, in my opinion. Everyone speaks with a British accent, which may throw off some young ones, but they speak clearly and do not use a lot of slang so children should have no trouble understanding what is going on. This movie is simply animated and fairly basic in regards to storyline. Older viewers should keep their eyes peeled for glimpses of famous bands and musicians in the background, otherwise this movie will have limited appeal.
This movie contains sections of verbal arguments. Recommended for ages 1 – 5.