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Dog day afternoon

Scooby-Doo barks, doesn't bite


Title: Scooby-Doo

Genre: Comedy

Opens: June 14

The Pitch: The psychedelic cartoon sleuths come to life, with Fred (Freddie Prinze Jr.) reimagined as a teen-mag heartthrob, Velma (Linda Cardellini) a NASA scientist, Daphne (Sarah Michelle Gellar) a spoiled fashionista and Shaggy (Matthew Lillard), as, well, a big slacker. Oh yeah, and Scooby as a surprisingly flat CGI animation.

Tag Line: Be afraid. Be kind of afraid.

What the Tag Line Should Be: Be afraid of Freddie Prinze Jr.'s dye job.

Cliches: A pointless scene involving characters switching bodies is painful to watch, though not quite as bad as an Adam Sandler-esque flatulence contest, or, even worse, the frequent feel-good moral moments, featuring lines like, "Real friends stick together."

Fashion statements: Daphne evokes a certain slutty Clueless charm via a parade of purple go-go gear. Fred works the ascot.

Flesh factor: Title character is naked from beginning to end. Velma sheds the orange cowl-neck to show some cleavage in the second reel.

Selling points: A handful of thinly veiled drug references will make the stoners giggle, as will Matthew Lillard's so-dead-on-it's-almost-creepy Shaggy impression.

At Least They Didn't Screw This Up: The writers get points for sticking to the source material, with the two main locations being The Wow-O Toy Factory and Spooky Island.

Throwaway Cameo: Top-40 popsters Sugar Ray appear briefly, but turn out to be soulless demon-zombies. Call it a casting coup.

Best Line: "You even come with your own ransom note!" (Velma, on Daphne's constant damsel-in-distress act.)

Worst Line: "Ultimate power shall be mine." (Intoned by the big bad guy, along with a stream of other quips singularly spoken by super villains.)

Almost Clever, But Not Quite: The anachronistic Mystery Inc. gang trips over the lingo of college-aged spring-breakers, a gag that actually worked in The Brady Bunch movies.

Hit Single: OutKast's "Land of a Million Drums," the cheesiest hip-hop movie tie-in since Will Smith's "Wild Wild West."

Why the Nerds Will Rejoice: Sarah Michelle Geller gets to kick some "Buffy"-esque butt in the grand finale.

The Bottom Line: Jeenkies! Gen-Xers looking for a nostalgia trip will be bored, but it's better than The Flintstones.

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