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Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4

*Also starring: Matthew Lillard, Linda Cardellini, Neil Fanning, Seth Green, Alicia Silverstone, Zahf Paroo, Tim Blake Nelson, Peter Boyle, Scott McNeil, Kevin Durand

Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

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 comical monsters.

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

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