Doug's 1st Movie

The precious, but in recent years increasingly fuzzy, line separating film and television has been obliterated entirely by the deceptively titled Doug's 1st Movie, which, in a slight advance on 1903's The Great Train Robbery, intercuts two or three episodes' worth of the popular cartoon series into a loose 77 minutes. Rushed to theaters after the unexpected success of The Rugrats Movie, this crude expansion of creator Jim Jenkins' show is so effectively pitched to its target audience (8- to 11-year-olds) that no one else is likely to enjoy it. Two sweet-natured junior-high misfits, Doug and his aqua-skinned best friend Skeeter, discover a gurgling, pot-bellied blue monster in Bluffington's polluted Lucky Duck Lake. With an obvious nod to E.T., they harbor the friendly beast from the crooked industrialist responsible for his creation. In another tenuously connected plot thread, Doug tries to woo the plucky Patti Mayonnaise by staging "the coolest Valentine's Day dance ever." Doug's 1st Movie is innocuous and mildly clever at times, a refreshing change from the more frenetic, scatological humor of its former Nickelodeon partner, The Rugrats. But, pot-bellied blue monsters aside, it's not much different than a cartoon version of Saved By The Bell, with every character voiced by Screech. And while modest adventures and flat, cheap-looking animation have always provided hours of hypnotic entertainment for pre-adolescent TV viewers, seeing Doug's 1st Movie is far more expensive and inconvenient than sitting on the living-room floor.

Filed Under: Film

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