I've never seen "Doug," the Saturday morning cartoon that spawnedthis inconsequential feature film spin-off, so maybe I'm missing some vitalbit of understanding to figure out why anyone should shell out for ticketand popcorn to watch what amounts to a weak TV special of the simplestof kiddie cartoons.
Pubescent string bean in a bike helmet Doug Funnie seemslike an awful nice guy and a good animated role model, but his movie debutlacks the scope or even the ambition to justify this kid's leap to bigscreen.
Fairly standard fare for a lesson-learnin' animated episode,"Doug's First Movie" -- the ten-cent plot of which centers aroundthe pre-teen and his friend Skeeter protecting a benevolent swamp thingspawned of industrial toxins -- is teeming with unobtrusive Golden Ruleconduct, exemplar environmentalism and multi-colored characters that subliminallyplant diversity messages. Even the mean kids are practically apologeticexcept for an upper-classman puts the moves on Doug's young honey, PattiMayonnaise, just in time for the big dance.
But this movie hasn't any vitality or originality. It seemslike just another episode of any Saturday morning show I occasionally channel-surfpast while shaking my head and wondering what ever happened to the goodstuff like "Fat Albert." But it's been a long time, maybe "FatAlbert" was just as innocuous and I was too young to realize it.
Sloppily written and cheaply directed, and apparently withoutany attempt to take a step up in terms of artistic style for the big screen,the picture clumsily fills in backstory for us newbies before proceedingwith its story that finds the richest man in town threatening to squelchDoug's discovery of chemical dumping at a the local lake by breaking intohis house in broad daylight and trying to kidnap the swamp thing.
Nothing here worth paying to see. If you're kid's a big"Doug" fan, cool his or her jets for a couple months and it willbe out on video.