Stars: Travis Tedford, Bug Hall, Brittany Ashton Holmes, Kevin Jamal Woods, Blake McIver Ewing. Written by Paul Guay, Stephen Mazur, Penelope Spheeris. Directed by Penelope Spheeris. Rated PG.

After the calamities known as "The Beverly Hillbillies" and "Wayne's World" the last thing I expected from director Penelope Spheeris was a good movie version of "The Little Rascals". How would she mess up this one? I needn't haven't worried, though. "The Little Rascals" is an energetic kids film that doesn't stoop to the adult-bashing of "Home Alone" and "Dennis the Menace". It's just good clean fun.

Spanky (Travis Tedford), Alfalfa (Bug Hall), Stymie (Kevin Jamal Woods), Buckwheat, Froggy and a host of other young boys belong to a club known as the "He-Man Womun Haters Club". As one can easily guess from its name, the sole criteria for inclusion in the club is the dislike of girls. So it comes as a rather painful blow that one of its principal members, Alfalfa, is hopelessly smitten with a girl named Darla (Brittany Ashton Holmes). Because he hasn't renounced his membership in the club but continues to woo her, she asks for a test of his affection. Would he arrange a romantic picnic in his beloved clubhouse?

The picnic goes ahead as planned, but his fellow club members get a whiff of what is going on. They sabotage the meal with whoopie cushions and kitty litter, but the joke backfires and the clubhouse burns to the ground. This all sets the stage for the big go-cart derby in which the grand prize is a sum of money large enough for them to rebuild the clubhouse.

With cameos by Reba McEntire, Donald Trump, Whoopi Goldberg, Daryl Hannah, Lea Thompson, Ashley & Mary-Kate Olsen, Mel Brooks, George Wendt and others, Spheeris has pulled out all the stops to make "The Little Rascals" entertaining and lively. She has effectively captured the spirit of the earlier "Rascal" movies and modified it just enough to appeal to today's kids.

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