A review of “Scooby-Doo” by Jeanne Aufmuth

 

Stars: *

Rating: PG for loads of tasteless bathroom humor and language

Run Time: 1 hour, 27 minutes

 

 

Welcome to Bluescreen Hell, a cinematic place where phony, computer-generated images are packaged together with bad performances and distributed to you, the moviegoer, as joyless summer entertainment.

No, I am not a fan of the original late Sixties cartoon, so convince me that there was something there worth remaking into a feature film.  The premise is a hundred shades shy of original.  Overgrown puppy spy Scooby and his gang part ways after major personality clashes force Mystery, Inc. (the quintet’s successful private investigation “firm”) to close its van doors.  Two years later each of the members receive a mysterious letter from Spooky Island owner Emile Mondavarious (Rowan Atkinson), inviting them to fly out to his frightfully popular island resort and investigate a series of paranormal incidents that are alarming his hip young guests.

Temporarily setting their egos aside for the cause are Daphne (Sarah Michelle Gellar), a fashion-plated twit who flirts and pouts her way through her tiresome damsel in distress routine, Fred (Freddie Prinze, Jr.), a helmet- coiffed blonde narcissist with the brain the size of a walnut, Velma (Linda Cardellini), a Mensa-level brainiac who yearns for the spotlight, and Scooby’s owner Shaggy (Matthew Lillard), a laid back dude with an everlasting hunger and the tendency to be in the right place at the wrong time.

 Ghosts, or a power-hungry figure fronting a brainwashing cult?  The five private eyes split up and search Spooky Island with a fine toothed comb, winnowing the investigation down to a list of three dastardly suspects with Motive on the Mind.

There’s no excuse for pouring of millions of dollars into this dreadful fun-house of a film.  The sets are a plastic carnival nightmare and the storyline is dumbed-down for the under-10 set (with the added bonus of repulsive farting contests and flashes of cleavage to satisfy the teens). Performances are south of atrocious.  Lillard (my hero) barely manages an aw-shucks sweetness that, coupled with a gift for working opposite a bluescreen mutt and keeping it real, lends the tiniest sliver of charm to an otherwise lackluster affair.  Skip it.