“Ratz” premieres on Showtime, 7/9/00, 8:00 PM (ET/PT).
Doris Trowbridge (Kathy Baker) is the town eccentric. She is known as “Weird Doris” because her social graces leave something to be desired. When she discovers a magic ring at a garage sale, however, her wishes come true. But when fantasy becomes reality, trouble descends on the quiet town of Glenwood, Indiana.
The story is told from the perspective of two misfit 14-year-old girls, employees in Doris’s antique store, desperately seeking to fit in, and in drastic need of dates for the Spring Dance. After transforming herself into a look-alike of glamorous soap opera queen Regina Lee Savage, Doris helps out the girls by granting them their fondest wishes. In a Cinderella-like twist, Doris transforms two white, caged rats into handsome young men. But it’s not as easy as that. Although they look like real boys, they think like rats. The girls have to contain, train and control the rats-now-boys so they can, for once, have a good time being “cool” at the dance. When havoc ensues, the teenagers discover the foibles of a far-reaching lie and Doris, ultimately, learns to be content with who you are.
“Ratz” is a clever, entertaining fantasy for the entire family. Vanessa Lengies and Caroline Elliott are charmers as geeky ducklings, who will no doubt soon be lovely swans. They are real teenagers, with the word “like” used to begin nearly every thought. And, of course, each awkward moment they undergo is a major catastrophe that most adolescents will relate to. There are some genuinely funny moments, including seeing the girls trying to manage the rat-boys by constantly feeding them.