I'm happy to report that SCOOBY-DOO 2: MONSTERS UNLEASHED is quite a bit better
than the last Scooby-Doo movie. There's enough humor to tickle the funny bones
of the adults in the audience, and there's plenty of good-spirited humor and
comically scary monsters to delight the kids. The reason for the improvement?
It may be because the writing is noticeably sharper than before. This sequel's
screenwriter, James Gunn, who penned the recent DAWN OF THE DEAD remake, comes
up with a witty mix of traditional lines ("We'll cease to be loserific," Shaggy
exclaims to Scooby), charming lines ("A mystery is my mistress, and I must hear
her sweet call," Velma says when refusing a date with Patrick) and outrageous
lines ("Sniff my butt!" a bulldog barks at Scooby in subtitles).
Adult chaperones are going to be surprised at what a good time they have with
the children at this kids' movie. They will also be able to enjoy some of the
jokes that go by so fast that the little ones will miss them entirely. My
favorite in this vein is a billboard advertising diapers with the slogan below
the toddler of "I'm a lil' party pooper."
The jokes for the youngsters are generally not so raunchy as to embarrass the
adults, but there is both a flaming fart and a green slime projectile vomit
scene to amuse the kids. Most of the movie, however, is as wholesome as apple
pie as the Mystery, Inc. team, Fred (Freddie Prinze Jr.), Daphne (Sarah
Michelle Gellar), Velma (Linda Cardellini), Shaggy (Matthew Lillard) and
Scooby-Doo (voiced by Neil Fanning), battle the monster ghosts. There are also
cute little message moments in the movie, as the one in which the nerdy Velma
tries to vamp it up in a squeaky, tight, red leather pantsuit. Trying to
impress her date, Patrick (Seth Green), she only ends up feeling awkward and
stupid. She learns that being herself is the only way to be.
Okay, I confess. Maybe the reason I didn't like the first Scooby movie was
that I wasn't yet into my Scoobygroove, but now I think Scooby's latest picture
is definitely Scooberific.
SCOOBY-DOO 2: MONSTERS UNLEASHED runs a little long at 1:30. It is rated PG
for "some scary action, rude humor and language" and would be acceptable for
kids around 4 or 5 and up, depending on how well they can handle images of
My son Jeffrey, almost 15, gave it ***, remarking on how surprised he was to
find that it was "actually good" and much better than the first. He thought
the mystery and the special effects were fun; the dialog was imaginative and
funny; and Daphne was hot. My niece Liana, age 6, and her brother William, age
9, both laughed a lot and had a delightful time. On the ride home in the van,
they talked incessantly about scenes they loved until they fell completely
silent and almost asleep, exhausted from their good time.
Copyright © 2004 Steve Rhodes