On second thought, that doesn't sound too bad!
Anyway... This latest infusion of the "Original" Scooby Gang might be hopelessly trapped in this day and age, even more than the original episodes were trapped in the 1970's, but it's still at least as good a laugh, if not better, than you're going to get from the current live action Scoobies on film. Casey Kasem (as Norbert "Shaggy" Rogers) and Frank Welker (as both Fred and Scooby-Doo himself) both return here to lead the voice cast on a brand new mystery when the Mysteries, Inc. gang returns to (wherever) their home (is) for a nice Valentine's day filled with romance and relaxation.
Unfortunately, the gang gets about as much of that as I get calls from Ol' Ebert to co-host. Yep, as usual there's some Creepy Ghosts popping up to give our Gang a hard time, only this time, the creepy ghosts are exact doppelgangers of Fred, Velma, Daphne, Scooby and Shaggy, which puts them in the hot seat, so to smell. To make matters worse, there's an enormous mail man stalking Velma and Shaggy's best Ex-Girlfriend (surprised?) shows back up in the old home town with a brand new boyfriend, J.C. Chasez from N*Sync.
It was at this point that I began to feel very, very severe intestinal pain and I rolled from my recliner to the floor, clutching my sizeable stomach and moaning like... well, like Chasez on his latest album. The mighty have fallen hard enough now to give the N*Sync second stringers air time? This is harder to endure than Georgie Stults' wooden nonacting on 7th Heaven... okay, not that hard! I wish that this obvious snag at second string fans was the only flaw in this Rough Jewel, but it's not.
So many of the classic elements of Scooby-Doo seem to be mashed unceremoniously into the script in the vain hope that the audience is so incredibly nostalgic that they'll accept just any form of the old stuff just to get that lost-years tear in the eyes. The old "Meddling Kids" line is milked more than once, as is the Rubber-Mask rip-off, and the "Jeepers"-rich dialogue never fails to ignite either a smile when successful or a wince when forced.
Still there are some decent laughs, such as the constant inside jokes (though no "Stoner" comedy appears), and some external references to influence an "Oh no you didn't!" moment or three. Daphne's reference to Sarah Michelle Gellar, for example, is a keeper, while old Scoob's refusal of a "Scooby Snack" because he's avoiding "Carbs" is all too of-the-now for classicism. The near-horror for laughs is straight out of the Scooby-Dooby-Doo playbook, as are just about any elements from the old days.
And therein lies the problem. In the old days they were making these things up, and therefore making us laugh... Now days, in movie versions, and TV Specials alike, the laughs are mostly by-the-numbers attempts to pack in all of what made Scooby Doo special. Because of this, the laughs aren't very original, the ingredients feel like obligations and the whole shebang feels like a parody of itself! It's still better than most of what passes for comedy these days, and I admit to having that blood-addiction for nostalgia just like the next fat internet critic. So, guess what folks, a medium effort gets the medium grade of Three Stars out of Five. I still love old Scooby, folks, and I'd rather have this Scooby Doo than none at all. I'll be wearing my "SD" Necktie to work until the cows come home... and I'll see you in the next reel! (Just don't confuse me with the other J.C. when I do!)
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