Review Date:
Director: Raja Gosnell
Writer: James Gunn
Producers: Charles Roven
Freddie Prinze Jr. as Fred
Sarah Michelle Gellar as Daphne
Matthew Lillard as Shaggy
Based on the popular cartoon TV series, this live-action version of the show pits the gang of teenage goofs and their loveable dog against yet another mystery to be solved, this time at a place called “Spooky Island”. Zany antics, cheesy lines, dorky humor and cartoon action ensues.
Some of the stuff that I liked about this movie includes the amazingly cool-looking sets and rides, the eerily spot-on performance by Matthew Lillard as Shaggy, the few in-jokes, the super-rapid pace and the initial appearance by Scrappy Doo. Some of the stuff that I didn’t like about this movie were its childish shenanigans (anyone for a fart contest?), the lack of any real funny humor (especially for adults), the story, the lame music, Mr. Bean’s useless character and the final appearance by Scrappy Doo, which felt entirely out of place and simply put…nonsensical. For someone who adored the cartoon series as a child (alright, to this day!), the movie was pretty fun to watch for most of its way, especially with the dialogue and character interactions remaining very faithful to the original, but overall, they just seemed to be playing to the kids and being as I’m no longer a kid myself, most of the stuff was shoulder-shruggable. Did I think Scooby dressing up like a grandma was funny on any level? No, not really. I did enjoy the bantering between Scoobs and Shaggy though, especially when it came to anything to do with food and their earlier scenes together in the Mystery Machine (during which they actually make an adult reference to Shaggy’s preference for…well, you’ll see). Most of the actors were also quite good for what they had to do, all seemingly understanding that they were in a big picture cartoon, with very little substance and lotsa wham-bam-thank-you-ma’ams.

Velma was especially effective, as played by Linda Cardellini, and even Freddie Prinze Jr. seemed to become the arrogant, goofy Fred at some point (Or maybe he wasn’t acting? Just kidding, Freddie…who loves ya, baby?) Gellar was also looking hot as usual, and her kung-fu fighting sequence was a fun romp. I also gotta give it up to the wardrobe folks, who did a fine job to make sure that the lovely ladies in this film all looked like high-class hookers. Even Velma was given a low-cut tight shirt in one sequence, which mysteriously transformed into her classic orange turtleneck soon thereafter. Either way, the cleavage made for decent eye-candy for us horn-dog older folk. I was disappointed that they didn’t show the Velma/Daphne lesbo kiss though (although seeing as it is a total kid’s flick, I can see why they didn’t), or the whole Velma lesbian undertones, which they could have at least alluded to, or made a joke about. Most surprisingly, Scooby-Doo was an almost invisible character to me. He was funny at times (“Ramburgers?”) and stupid at others, but mostly, he just looked like a CGI creation walking around real actors pretending to be looking at him. Of course, seeing as the whole thing was a cartoon to begin with, that didn’t bother me all that much.

The musical group Sugar Ray showing up for a stupid cameo, on the other hand, did bother me! BTW, after Macy Gray made her dumbass appearance in SPIDER-MAN, I hope to God that this isn’t becoming some sort of “genius” Hollywood trend to literally combine two-bit musicians with movies, cause I ain’t down with that shit. It’s bad enough that films are commercialized beyond belief nowadays, but there’s a limit, dudes! Anyway, don’t see this picture if you’re an adult and expecting a good movie because this ain’t it. If you smoke the green stuff, this might certainly light your fire, or if you have kids, they will likely enjoy the quirkiness of the goofiness within, but overall, the film is a puffball among puffball summer movies, and unless you’ve got nothing better to do, I suggest waiting for video, and even then…make sure you’re either drunk or messing around with your honey at the same time, cause there isn’t much about it that you’ll likely remember. Other than the horrible “twist” ending and the strangely dark overtones which accompany it. See it for the boobs or Shaggy’s amazing performance, otherwise, stick to the cartoons and hope that they will “adult” it up the next time around (although I know they won’t). Zoinks this!

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian