A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that preschoolers won't get into the story, but some may enjoy the multi-colored characters and a suspiciously Barney-like lake creature. Grade schoolers will be most involved in Doug and Skeeter's struggles to do the right thing. Preteens may find the humor immature, but some might like the Valentine's Day dance subject matter and middle school setting.
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What's the story?
In his film debut, popular television cartoon character Doug and his pal Skeeter discover a monster living in Lucky Duck Lake. It turns out that a local factory owner has been dumping waste into the lake, and the pollution created the monster. When Doug and Skeeter find out that the monster is friendly and means no harm, they name the creature Herman Melville and set out to protect it. While Skeeter wants to prove the factory owner is guilty of polluting the lake, Doug tries to use his friendship with the monster to impress his longtime crush, Patti. But when forced to choose between protecting the monster or proving himself to Patti, Doug helps the monster.
Is it any good?
Doug's big screen debut suffers from not being enough of a movie. Though the story tries to weave in some big themes--doing the right thing, ecological safety, overcoming jealousy--it fails to combine them in a meaningful way, and it doesn't always match the quality or focus of the best cartoons in the series. Still, all the goofy characters from the series are here, Bluffington is a pleasant place to visit for seventy-seven minutes.
The movie's admirable message comes through loud and clear and while Doug is at times too good to be true, the movie avoids being sickly sweet with some clever moments. The bonus "Dougumentary" is the best part. Creator Jim Jinkins answers questions such as "Why are all the characters different colors?" The answer, as you might have guessed, is "It doesn't matter how you look on the outside, it's what's on the inside that counts."
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