In the hierarchy of celebrities with four-fingered hands, football-headed Arnold trails way behind the absorbent, yellow, and porous Spongebob Squarepants as Sexiest Nickleodeon Cartoon Boy Alive. But the ethical, independent-minded kid has his unhip charms, and so does ”Hey Arnold! The Movie,” the inevitable feature-length adventure based on the animated cartoon created by Craig Bartlett, and directed by Tuck Tucker with serviceable bounce.
The movie expands on the series’ liberal and genial worldview (set in a funky out-of-time New York neighborhood), pitting Arnold and his posse as political activists who save the nabe from bulldozing in the name of heartless corporate conquest. (Paul Sorvino gives silky voice to evil plutocrat Mr. Scheck.) Darn if the ingenious kids don’t organize and overcome, too – a plucky bit of ”Cradle Will Rock” activism smuggled in under the cover of Nickelodeon smiles.