"Hi-jinkies’ make for good, silly fun
Twelve words into it, I’m already amending my review of “Scooby Doo”: How about two stars and a “Zoinks!”?
No, “Scooby Doo” isn’t anything more than an average movie in terms of plot, message or character development. But the difference between the cartoon and the big-screen version is the same as the difference between the cartoon Mystery Machine and the van on the big screen: It’s bigger, newer and faster – and a lot more fun. To me, that’s worth at least a “Zoinks!” – if not a half a star.
Even though stars Freddie Prinze Jr. (vapid ascot aficionado Fred), Sarah Michelle Gellar (danger-prone Daphne) Linda Cardellini (dorky Velma) and Matthew Lillard (Shaggy) don’t stray from their – literally – two-dimensional characters, it’s a fun cast. With the exception of Gellar’s Buffy-ization of Daphne, they’re all pitch-perfect. Lillard is especially good, maintaining a relentless stoner Casey Kasem impression throughout the brief running time.
I think the secret to enjoying “Scooby Doo” is understanding it’s essentially a louder, brighter, live-action episode of the cartoon my generation grew up watching – like the jacked-up, silver-screen version of the Mystery Machine. Unlike, say, the ” Files” movie, it does very little to redefine the roles or relationships between the members of Mystery, Inc.
The plot doesn’t reach much farther than a 30-minute cartoon, either – although movie viewers get Pamela Anderson (nee Lee) and Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath as this week’s special guest stars instead of Speed Buggy or Meadowlark Lemon. The audience contained some real kids in addition to a 27-going-on-14 copy editor, and their reaction seemed to indicate the movies scary scenes weren’t that bad. They didn’t seem too intense – and I freely admit the cartoon gave me a few nightmares when I was younger. Like 25.
All jokes aside, it’s the jokes that make “Scooby Doo” fun. It works both for adults and kids – but in a different way than such sharp, subtle humor as “Animaniacs” or “The Simpsons.”
Unlike those cartoons – or the one it’s based on, the big-screen “Scooby Doo” isn’t one for the ages. But it’s a fun way to blow an hour and a half some summer afternoon.
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