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Doug's 1st Movie

Voiced 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

IN SHORT: An amiable and gentle kidflick.

Doug's 1st 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.

Cranky just 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. . .

Doug's 1st 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...

Doug's 1st 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.

The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2016   by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.