Friday March 26, 1999
I have to tell you right off: I liked the Christmas special better.
That episode of "Doug" was about a half-hour long. And a half-hour of "Doug" is about as much "Doug" as anyone, of any age, can reasonably be expected to withstand at a time. The "Doug" universe is too sweet and too light to travel into the big, wide, often indelicate territory of feature films.
But the success of "The Rugrats Movie" has apparently convinced those who should know better that "Doug," originally another Nickelodeon cable network franchise that made good (and now is a Saturday morning fixture on ABC), is ready for its multiplex close-up, and so we get, naturally, "Doug's 1st Movie." This is the same "Doug" that, according to his creator, Jim Jinkins, started out as a doodle. Surely Jinkins must know that bad things happen when you give doodles a close-up.
For the benefit of quizzical readers who are not or do not have young children, Doug Funnie (voiced by Thomas McHugh) is a wispy-haired, 12-year-old--sorry, I've been informed by a young child in our office that he's a 12 1/2-year-old--with a good heart and an overactive imagination. He lives in the town of Bluffington, "Bumper Sticker Capital of the World," with his squarer-than-square parents; hipper-than-hip older sister, Judy (Becca Lish, who, alas, is seen and heard only fleetingly here); and faithful Renaissance dog Porkchop.
Most of the stories on the "Doug" series are mini-sitcoms that generally speak to their young audience's secret hopes/fears of being perceived as either "cool" or "uncool" by their peers. The movie inflates this concept by showing the myriad consequences of Doug and his green-colored best friend Skeeter's (Fred Newman) discovery of the legendary "monster" of Lucky Duck Lake.
Doug thinks this find will impress his longtime crush, Patti Mayonnaise (Connie Shulman), who already seems fairly impressed with Doug, despite the best efforts of oily upperclassman Guy Graham (Guy Hadley) to have Patti all to himself as they plan the sixth-graders' Valentine's Day dance.
And speaking of oily, the big blue monster, which, of course, turns out to be anything but scary, is sought by sinister forces led by the town's richest man, Bob Bluff (Doug Preis), who fears that the beast's discovery will prove that his company fills the lake with pollutants. All this is supposed to be somehow resolved at the dance, but you're so loaded down with extra complications that you don't care how it's resolved.
Doug's 1st Movie, 1999. G. Bluff Agent No. 1 Thomas McHugh as Doug Funnie, Lincoln. Fred Newman as Skeeter, Mr. Dink, Porkchop, Ned. Chris Phillips as Roger Klotz, Boomer, Larry, Mr. Chiminy. Constance Shulman as Patti Mayonnaise. Frank Welker as Herman Melville. Doug Preis as Mr. Funnie, Mr. Bluff, Willie, Chalky,.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times