Doug's 1st Movie
From Disney, the studio whose finest animated features prove that a movie hardly needs to be innocuous to connect with kids, comes a cartoon so innocuous it’s like a sketchbook version of a film that has yet to be made. The voices run the gamut from whiny to shrill, and the immaculate, neatly lined images, while zippy and vivacious, are also curiously impersonal.
On the eve of the big Valentine’s Day dance, Doug Funnie, a middle-school nerd who resembles a shovel-headed Charlie Brown, discovers a doofy, big-toothed cuddly-dinosaur beastie that has crawled out of polluted Lucky Duck Lake. The boy hides the monster in his house, gets to be friends with him, takes him to school in a wig, saves him from evil interlopers, and finally bids goodbye in a meant-to-be-heart-tugging finale. Sound familiar? Spun off from the popular ABC series, Doug’s 1st Movie is a shameless rehash of E.T., minus any vestige of wit or emotional magic. Its very title tells you that the executives who greenlighted this project were far too hungry to create a new kiddie-movie franchise to bother making it very good. C-