1. Headline
  1. Headline
AP file
Dylan (Jimmy Fallon), Brian (William H. Macy), Ermintrude (Whoopi Goldberg) and Doogal (Daniel Tay) band together to save the world in in "Doogal."
updated 2/24/2006 6:43:00 PM ET 2006-02-24T23:43:00

“Doogal” is the laziest, most disheartening kind of animated children’s film: one that seems interested in entertaining kids only on the most fundamental level (through colorful talking animals and flatulence jokes) while frantically cramming in as many pop culture references as possible to preoccupy their parents.

With its smugly self-referential manner, distractingly disproportionate characters and celebrity vocal cast that deserves better, “Doogal” could very easily be mistaken with “Hoodwinked,” the Little Red Riding Hood rip-off which also came from the Weinstein Co. this year. (There’s even a cutesy little dig at Disney, from which Miramax founders Harvey and Bob Weinstein splashily defected in 2005. Truly, at this point, who cares anymore?)

The movie is based on a British cartoon called “The Magic Roundabout,” which itself is based on French animation about a little girl (Kylie Minogue), her dog (Daniel Tay) and their buddies — Ermintrude the cow (Whoopi Goldberg), Brian the snail (William H. Macy) and Dylan the rabbit (Jimmy Fallon) — living in an idyllic hamlet that appears to be devoid of adults.

There’s a good wizard named Zebadee (Ian McKellen) and an evil wizard named Zeebad (Jon Stewart), who wants to freeze the world with the help of three magical diamonds. Both wizards look like Jack-in-the-Boxes that have bounced maniacally to freedom. Not sure what kind of dog Doogal is, but he vaguely resembles Felicity Huffman in “Transamerica.”

Complicated enough, right? But wait. The minor army of directors and screenwriters responsible for “Doogal” messes things up further with a mind-boggling array of entertainment in-jokes. Chevy Chase, who plays a talking train, introduces himself with, “I’m the train, and you’re not.” Fallon’s bunny awakens from a nap with, “What’s up, Doc?” In one scene, the characters barely even have conversations with each other, they’re so busy firing off references to everything from “The Shining,” “The Matrix” and “The Karate Kid” to John Woo, the Wu Tang Clan and MC Hammer.

This is a movie that is trying so hard to be hip, it forces Stewart, as the villainous sorcerer, to rhapsodize about how he’ll buy a blue Hummer once he takes over the world, which he punctuates with an awkward cry of “Boo-yah!”

It’s telling that the biggest laughs from the kiddie crowd at a recent matinee — the movie wasn’t shown to critics before opening day, shockingly — were prompted by a gassy moose voiced by filmmaker Kevin Smith, who’s perhaps best known for his character of Silent Bob. “Doogal” isn’t silent, but it sure is deadly.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments

More on TODAY.com

  1. Courtesy Aldrich Family

    ‘Extraordinary’ 8-year-old boy finishes triathlon with his disabled brother

    7/22/2014 4:35:28 PM +00:00 2014-07-22T16:35:28
  1. Feds ban airlines from flying to Tel Aviv airport

    Federal aviation officials issued an order to airlines prohibiting them from flying to and from Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport for 24 hours after a rocket struck near the airport earlier Tuesday.

    7/22/2014 5:43:01 PM +00:00 2014-07-22T17:43:01
  2. Dutch collect DNA to match with MH17 victims
  1. Pool / Reuters

    Prince George's birthday: The royal tot's 10 cutest moments

    7/22/2014 1:11:51 PM +00:00 2014-07-22T13:11:51
  1. Khakimullin Aleksandr / Shutterstock / Khakimullin Aleks

    The 5 best exercises for tank top-worthy arms

    7/22/2014 8:56:50 PM +00:00 2014-07-22T20:56:50
  1. Coke is a stain remover? 6 surprising cleaners in your home

    From those annoying white deodorant stains on your little black dress to rust stains in the commode, some stains just won't go away — until now. With help from some savvy experts, we put together surprising tips to banish these stains once and for all.

    7/22/2014 4:48:22 PM +00:00 2014-07-22T16:48:22
  1. Robyn Beck / AFP - Getty Images

    Chris Pratt wows us — and his wife — on 'Guardians' red carpet

    7/22/2014 7:16:22 PM +00:00 2014-07-22T19:16:22