Do the Doo

Patient: Scooby Doo

Profile: Tepid live-action version of the tepid long-running cartoon that can't make up its mind whether it's spoof or tribute. The movie is successful in re-creating the sensation of watching a Scooby Doo cartoon in that it leaves the viewer wondering what the hell they're doing with their life watching Scooby Doo. Think Josie and the Pussycats meets Old Yeller meets That One Cartoon—Oh, What Was It?—The One With the Giant Shark That Can Talk, Walk, Solve Crimes AND Play Drums Yet No One Makes a Big Deal About It Because He's Also Mentally Retarded . . . You Know the One, Russell Crowe Played Him in the Movie.Symptoms: Scooby starts out promising enough. We see the cartoon characters in the flesh—with the exception of Sarah Michelle Gellar (Daphne) doing her one-woman tribute to famine—and we think we're going to see how poorly drawn 'toons translate with feelings and functioning genitalia. But they turn out to be just as poorly written. The characters neither progress comically from the cartoon nor skewer it. The movie doesn't do anything with the series or the genre (bad '70 cartoons). The filmmakers show far too much respect for their source material and seem loathe to make fun of it. An early running joke concerning drugs is quickly jettisoned, as if they were afraid they'd offend Scooby fans. Dudes, it's Scooby Frigging Doo, the thing you watched when the Groovie Goolies were on hiatus. Diagnosis: No one cares if you trash Scooby Doo. Its survival over the past three decades is a result not of fan interest but of evolutionary chaos and proof that there is no God and that if there is a God, He has a really bad sense of humor . . . or a really good one. Prescription: No one is going to care if you trash Scooby Doo. . . . Let me rephrase that: PEOPLE WANT YOU TO TRASH SCOOBY DOO. It sucked and was horrible, and people want a little something back, want in the same joyful way Brady Bunchmovies delivered. You do this by attacking the characters, what they stood for. Problem is that Shaggy is about the only one who stood for anything. This might be a problem—except Matthew Lillard, the actor who portrays him, seems born to play Shaggy, being in a seemingly perpetual state of ablazement himself. Write much more for him and minimize the other characters. Play up the drug references. Where is the psychedelic freak-out scene? The Jerry Garcia ghost caper? Where's Bob Denver? And go after the show itself—play upon the fact that they never age and never have sex. I mean, that's a perfect description of Michael Jackson, and look how hilarious that has turned out. And go after elements of the show. Where's the chase scenes where they pass the same table, chair and painting 50 times? Where are the cheesy cameos? Where's Tim Conway? Where's Bob Denver? No, seriously, where? —Steve Lowery

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