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Review: Scooby-Doo

It’s difficult to pay homage to bad television let alone bad television oblivious to its own subversions.

Photo: Warner Bros.

It’s difficult to pay homage to bad television let alone bad television oblivious to its own subversions. “Scooby Doo” (not unlike, say, “The Brady Bunch”) was priceless because of this very cluelessness; it made it that much more fun to pick apart the subtext. With Scooby Doo the movie being marketed as the next kiddie blockbuster (studio heads okayed the high fart quotient but nixed the lesbian kiss between Sarah Michelle Geller’s Daphne and Linda Cardellini’s Velma), what’s left for the Gen X fanbase that grew up on Scooby snacks? There’s a good 100 things wrong with Scooby Doo, all of which can be referenced in relation to the relative success of The Brady Bunch Movie. The Bradys weren’t ready for the ‘90s because they played the decade like they did the ‘70s. On the other hand, Scooby Doo’s Mystery Inc. gang dress like its 1972 with not so much as one citation from the fashion police. James Gunn’s screenplay is straight from the PoMo junk pile (while Gunn refuses to negotiate the text’s millenium shift the TV show’s original theme song has nonetheless been remixed for the Alf generation). Modern-day guest spots are to be expected but Pamela Anderson is no Phyllis Diller. Perhaps it’s as simple as a casting couch faux pas. With the possible exception of Matthew Lillard, the cast (not unlike the film) plays it entirely too high or too low. Cardellini has more sex appeal than Gellar, whose take on the ditzy Daphne is so self-conscious that you might just forget the awkward bit of empowerment she finds on what seems like a deleted scene from Charlie’s Angels. Not only are the best parts of the old TV show gone (remember the pot-stoked, synchronized group running?), Chris Columbus protégé Raja Gosnell directs the film as if it were Britney Spears’s worst CGI nightmare.

Cast: Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Matthew Lillard, Linda Cardellini, Scott Innes, Rowan Atkinson, Mark McGrath, Pamela Anderson Director: Raja Gosnell Screenwriter: James Gunn Distributor: Warner Bros. Running Time: 86 min Rating: PG Year: 2002 Buy: Video, Soundtrack

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