The jagged storyline follows the efforts of Arnold and his friends Gerald and Helga as they try to prevent a giant conglomerate from tearing down their dilapidated neighborhood to make way for a sparkling new shopping mall. Prior efforts to thwart the plans of the villainous boss Scheck have failed. Then, much to Arnold's surprise, a document surfaces that proves that the neighborhood is a historical landmark. Obtaining the document is the youngsters' only hope of stopping the demolition crews.
When the adults in the neighborhood find out about Scheck's plans, they stand around aimlessly until the young Arnold develops his own strategy. And while the youngsters look for the historical document, the adults decide that dynamiting their main street will stop the wrecking crews. Aren't they just contributing to the destruction instead? I've never seen an episode of the television show that this film is based on, but maybe if I were more familiar with the series, I would better understand why these adults are such brainless idiots!
Arnold is poked fun at for always looking on the bright side of things; I guess that's the message we're supposed to glean from this film: Cheer up. A better message would have been to promote cooperation between parents and children.
Of course, the ultimate question is whether kids will like this movie. Since they single-handedly take on the bad guy, while the adults do nothing, most kids will probably find Hey Arnold! to be humorous and amusing. As for the rest of us -- those who are old enough to know better movies when we see them -- a painlessly dull and unimaginative experience awaits. Even the hastily and amateurishly drawn animation cannot engage. And though it pains me to say this, a better family choice right now is Disney's Lilo & Stitch. Though it is not without it's own problems, compared to Hey Arnold!, Lilo & Stitch is a masterpiece -- or at least a form of marginally passable entertainment.
Hey Arnold! You stink!
Run time: 76 mins
In Theaters: Friday 28th June 2002
Box Office USA: $13.6M
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Production compaines: Nickelodeon Movies
Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 29%
Fresh: 23 Rotten: 55
IMDB: 5.8 / 10
Director: Tuck Tucker
Starring: Spencer Klein as Arnold, Francesca Smith as Helga Geraldine Pataki, Jamil Walker Smith as Gerald Martin Johanssen, Dan Castellaneta as Grandpa 'Steely' Phil / Nick Vermicelli, Tress MacNeille as Grandma Gertie 'Pookie' / Mayor Dixie / Red