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Doug's 1st Movie

movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Doug's 1st Movie

Starring: Thomas McHugh, Fred Newman
Director: Maurice Joyce
Rated: G
RunTime: 77 Minutes
Release Date: March 1999
Genres: Animation, Kids

*Also starring: Constance Shulman, Chris Phillips, Guy Hadley, Alice Playten, Frank Welker

Review by Steve Rhodes
1½ stars out of 4

Continuing in the bad tradition of stretching animated television shows into full-length movies, DOUG'S 1ST MOVIE is the latest incarnation. With the vast number of mediocre kids' television series still left to be "adapted" for the big screen, the mind boggles at what our kids will probably be offered at the theaters in the next few years. Although there are marvelous films like A BUG'S LIFE and THE PRINCE OF EGYPT, most of what the studios send to the theaters these days is the cinematic equivalent of elevator music -- terminally bland but with just enough familiar parts to keep you from falling asleep.

In DOUG'S 1ST MOVIE the "action" at Doug's school surrounds the planning for the big Valentine's dance. The wimpy Doug, voiced by Thomas McHugh, has signed up to help coordinate the dance until the BMOC, Guy, takes it over.

Although Doug's real life has its limitations, he has a vivid dream life. "He imagines himself as a superhero big enough to wear his underwear over his pants," explains the deep-throated narrator with a documentarian's seriousness. What that quote means, I have no idea, but we do see him dressed as such.

The dance turns out to be merely a subplot. The main story concerns a friendly monster, affectionately named Herman Melville, that Doug's friend Skeeter discovers. Herman, looking a like stuffed, powder blue version of Barney, is a creature more likely to hug you to death than scare you. Among Herman's bad habits is drinking out of toilets.

There are a few, a very few, bits of nice humor in the story. One inventor shows them his virtual reality system, which he says is just like the real world only more expensive. Another has the superhero version of Doug make a big monster regurgitate by showing him a "mushy teen" television series. (Showing him this movie might provoke a similar reaction.)

The colorful animation has little detail in the drawings, making it look like something that was quick and easy to slap together, but the credits, which run almost as long as the movie itself, suggest otherwise.

With a thin story as flat as the animation, one can only hope that DOUG'S 1ST MOVIE will be his last.

DOUG'S 1ST MOVIE runs 1:15. It is rated G and has nothing objectionable for any age.

My son Jeffrey, almost 10, said he gave the movie *** because he likes the television series. He liked the way the movie made him wonder what was going to happen next. His buddy Nickolas, almost 10, said he hadn't seen the show and didn't care much for the movie or Doug. He gave it **.

Copyright 1999 Steve Rhodes

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