Scooby-Doo in his big budget film debut is a real charmer, especially
when the lovable pooch puts on a flowery dress and a big sun hat to
impersonate a grandmother. The same compliments, however, cannot
be given to the movie itself, which stars Matthew Lillard, Freddie
Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar and Linda Cardellini as the human
members of Scooby-Doo's detective team. The film is directed by Raja
Gosnell, whose last picture was the crude BIG MOMMA'S HOUSE.
I've got a mystery for Scooby and company. Who is the target audience
for this picture? Although one might reasonably assume that the studio
would want a movie for the television series' 4- to 8-year-old audience,
the movie seems aimed at a much older group. With farting contests,
very scary monsters and lots of cleavage and short skirts, the movie
appears to have young teenage boys more in mind than the kindergarten
set. The script, however, is way too childish to attract teenagers.
This leaves me wondering about the intended demographics. It's a
mystery that I can't solve.
The actors cannot be faulted for their performances. As Norville
'Shaggy' Rogers, Lillard throws himself into his silly part without
visible embarrassment. A blonde, yes blonde, Freddie Prinze Jr. plays
Fred Jones, a guy whose chief talent is accessorization. Linda Cardellini
plays the brainiac Velma Dinkley, who resents Fred's always ignoring
her in favor of Daphne Blake (Sarah Michelle Gellar), a glamorous ditz.
When Velma accuses Fred of being interested only in swimsuit models,
he tells her, "I'm a man of substance. Dorky chicks like you turn
me on too." That's what I mean about the movie being intended more for teenagers.
Shaggy perfectly summarizes my feelings about watching the movie when
he remarks, "This is like the opposite of what I wanted to do today."
If you're looking for a cute Scooby-Doo show, stick to television.
SCOOBY-DOO runs 1:27. It is rated PG for "some rude humor, language
and some scary action" and would be acceptable for kids around 9 and up.
My son Jeffrey, age 13, gave it just * 1/2. Although he thought the
special effects were good, he didn't like the characters or the plot.
He remarked that the farting scenes were "useless."
Copyright © 2002 Steve Rhodes