The Little Rascals is a 1994 American comedy film produced by Amblin Entertainment, and released by Universal Pictures on August 5, 1994. The film is an adaptation of Hal Roach’s Our Gang, a series of short films of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s (many of which were broadcast on television as The Little Rascals) which centered on the adventures of a group of neighborhood children. The film, with a screenplay by Paul Guay, Stephen Mazur, and Penelope Spheeris – who also directed – presents several of the Our Gang characters in an updated setting, and features re-interpretations of several of the original shorts. It was the first collaboration by Guay and Mazur, whose subsequent comedies were Liar Liar and Heartbreakers.
Trying to take a beloved property from the 20s – 40s and taking it into a modern setting can be extremely challenging and difficult so there was a lot of pressure on The Little Rascals to try to succeed on that level.
With that said, this movie not only surprisingly did it but it, for the most part, succeeded in doing so. They did manage to capture the spirit of the original shorts and put this in a modern setting to where they didn’t modernize the characters themselves to be trendy or of the time. The kids act like normal kids that could be from any timeperiod, the world around them is what was life back in 1994, and they don’t have 90s clichés spattered all throughout either.
The kid actors themselves are very good filling their roles nicely, there’s a shockingly big amount of celebrity cameos in this, George Wendt, Raven Symone, Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen, Mel Brooks, Lea Thompson, Daryl Hannah, Reba McEntire, Whoopi Goldberg, and yes, even Donald Trump shows up in a cameo in this, back when Donald Trump wasn’t seen as a psychopathic racist….those were the days.
Overall, The Little Rascals is a harmless film adaptation that pays its’ proper respects to the original shorts with really solid kid actors playing these parts, the comedy is okay, the direction by Penelope Spheeris is good, it’s a fun adaptation that works a lot better than most adaptations do.