Courtesy Photo
** stars 77 minutes | Rated: G
Opened: Friday, March 26, 1999
Directed by Jim Jinkins

Voices of Thomas McHugh, Becca Lish, Fred Newman, Chris Phillips, Alice PLayten, Doug Preis & Constance Shulman


Nothing more to offer than the TV cartoon, and possibly less. Pointless for anyone but serious "Dougies."

   VIDEO RELEASE: 9/21/99

Saturday morning cartoon transplant "Doug" doesn't justify jump to big screen

By Rob Blackwelder

I've never seen "Doug," the Saturday morning cartoon that spawned this inconsequential feature film spin-off, so maybe I'm missing some vital bit of understanding to figure out why anyone should shell out for ticket and popcorn to watch what amounts to a weak TV special of the simplest of kiddie cartoons.

Pubescent string bean in a bike helmet Doug Funnie seems like an awful nice guy and a good animated role model, but his movie debut lacks the scope or even the ambition to justify this kid's leap to big screen.

Fairly standard fare for a lesson-learnin' animated episode, "Doug's First Movie" -- the ten-cent plot of which centers around the pre-teen and his friend Skeeter protecting a benevolent swamp thing spawned of industrial toxins -- is teeming with unobtrusive Golden Rule conduct, exemplar environmentalism and multi-colored characters that subliminally plant diversity messages. Even the mean kids are practically apologetic except for an upper-classman puts the moves on Doug's young honey, Patti Mayonnaise, just in time for the big dance.

But this movie hasn't any vitality or originality. It seems like just another episode of any Saturday morning show I occasionally channel-surf past while shaking my head and wondering what ever happened to the good stuff like "Fat Albert." But it's been a long time, maybe "Fat Albert" was just as innocuous and I was too young to realize it.

Sloppily written and cheaply directed, and apparently without any 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 proceeding with its story that finds the richest man in town threatening to squelch Doug's discovery of chemical dumping at a the local lake by breaking into his 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 will be out on video.


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