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Doug's 1st Movie
by Thomas McHugh, Fred Newman, Connie Shulman, Chris Phillips,
Guy Hadley and Frank Welker
Screenplay by Ken Scarborough
Based on Characters created by Jim Jinkins
Directed by Maurice Joyce
An amiable and gentle kidflick.
Movie is not as frenetic as The Rugrats Movie but it
is certainly built on a more solid story foundation. Based on an
animated series which wound its way from Nickelodeon to ABC Saturday
Morning, it is the continuing story of an average 12½ year
old boy, who just wants to figure out what it means to have a normal
life. Along the way, he experientially learns tons of stuff that
provides good moral stuff for parents to talk to their kids about.
ruined this for any kidlet reading, 'cuz calling anything the young
ones like "educational" is a yucchy. I don't care.
The movie expands
the tiny stories of the teevee show. Doug (voiced by Thomas McHugh)
and his best friend Skeeter (Fred Newman) are first seen
searching for the legendary monster of Lucky Duck Lake, a smelly,
heavily polluted sump of a pond. Also on Doug's mind is the big
Valentine's day dance, and the girl of his dreams, Patti Mayonnaise
(Connie Shulman). Patti's being hit on by Guy Graham (Guy
Hadley) an upperclass smoothie. Local bullies have their eyes
on Doug and Skeeter and, to keep it simple, Doug will wind up being
chased by the monster (Frank Welker), eventually to be named
Herman Melville (don't ask, I ain't telling). Herman is as gentle
as a puppy. Revealing the Monster means exposing the big wheel who
owns and runs the town. Keeping the secret means Patti will think
Doug is a liar. Oh, the problems of almost teenhood. . .
movie will keep the kidlets happy. Every once in a while, there's
a real zinger in the dialog, designed to keep the grownups from
nodding off. With visual nods to media as varied as ET, Godzilla,
Spinal Tap, The Lord of the Dance and Early Edition, us
old folk get enough to recognize to keep us one up on the kidlets.
The nice thing
about this flick, and I'm speaking as a breeder of proper parenting
age, is that it subtly introduces good moral values into the story
and doesn't rely on doodie jokes for a laugh. By the time it's done,
kids will be gently exposed to the evils of media manipulation,
covert activities, brown-nosing, industrial pollution and all sorts
of other good educational jumping off stuff. Darn, Cranky said the
"E" word again. Let's get to the point...
Movie is a great way to introduce the older kidlets to (dare
I say it?) Film History. If you've got a ten year old, pop in a
vid of Spinal Tap and see if he/she can spot the reference.
Take it from there.
Sure, the bad
guy (such as he is) doesn't get mashed into a bloody pulp and vaporized
in the sewer sludge he's dumping into the pond, but you older folk
can get that in the next Troma release.
stopped putting dollar ratings on kidflicks a while back, so I'll
give a nod to a critic in Chicago and offer a thumbs up on this
one, though Doug's 1st Movie is quiet enough that I don't
know if 10 plus years kidlets will go for it. Good rule of thumb
is if your kidlet watches the TV show, he or she will probably be
barking at the door for the movie. Just like my nephew, who is 6.