These movies arrive on video store shelves this week.


(G, 1999, 83 minutes, Disney)

This goofy, good-natured animated feature based on the popular Saturday-morning cartoon concerns the adventures of a 12 1/2-year-old boy named Doug Funnie (the voice of Thomas McHugh) who befriends a swamp creature named Herman Melville, saves his home town of Bluffington from unscrupulous polluters and wins the affection of the epicene Patti Mayonnaise (helium-voiced Constance Shulman). Our hero, a kid who does the dishes without nagging and wears his bike helmet even when he's not on his bike, somehow manages to be wholesome without being boring. "Doug's 1st Movie" is the triumph of the closet nerd within us all. Doug, c'est moi. Contains nothing offensive.

-- Michael O'Sullivan


(R, 1999, 136 minutes, Warner)

Surprisingly compelling fare for a cyber-age martial arts flick, this tale of individuality vs. computerized slavery throws in elements from old Westerns, the Bible, Greek mythology, "Alien," "Alice in Wonderland," "Men in Black," "Blade Runner," TV's old "Kung Fu" series, James Bond, "The Terminator," "Star Wars" and "Sleeping Beauty." The writing-directing team of brothers Larry and Andy Wachowski cannibalize all this wonderful film fodder shamelessly but they manage to excrete it in a totally new form: a philosophical fairy tale with comic-book action, state-of-the-art special effects and irresistible storytelling momentum. As a heroic trio of well-armed, 21st-century Zen rebels, Laurence Fishburne, Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Ann Moss rock. Contains martial arts, many spent shell casings and the standard sci-fi goo and gore.

-- Michael O'Sullivan


(PG, 1999, 94 minutes, Disney)

The Walt Disney picture, in which earthling Jeff Daniels plays host to visiting Martian Christopher Lloyd and his talkative, gyrating bodysuit, completely destroys the traditional spirit of the original 1960s TV series as well as old-time Disney fare with tacky, anything-goes broadness. Ray Walston, the original star of the TV show, gets a minor role, but there's nothing of the show's quaint appeal. Instead, we are assaulted with a bevy of computer graphic imaging, animatronics and puppetry, together with out-of-left-field sexually suggestive jokes (presumably intended for the bored baby boomer chaperones in the dark) and bathroom humor. Contains bathroom humor, sexual implications and smoochy earthling-alien kissing.

-- Desson Howe


(PG-13, 1999, 90 minutes, Paramount)

The only similarity between this vaguely smutty retread and the 1970 Neil Simon-scripted original (besides the title) is the basic premise: a naive Ohio couple encounters rudeness, mugging and lost luggage in big, bad Manhattan. As midwestern heroes the Clarks, Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn are no Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis. For one thing, the perpetually well-coiffed movies stars already seem too sophisticated to play the bumbling rubes they're passed off as. For another thing, they're just not very funny, thanks to stale slapstick (Hey, that's not aspirin, that's LSD!) perpetrated by writer Marc Lawrence and director Sam Weisman. Contains profanity, off-color humor and accidental drug use.

-- Michael O'Sullivan


(R, 1999, 100 minutes, 20th Century Fox)

It actually looked good on paper, this comedy about cannibalism set in a U.S. Army fort in the Sierra Nevadas in 1847. It's got talent out the wazoo: Guy Pearce of "L.A Confidential" as the hero, Robert Carlyle of "The Full Monty" as the flesh-eating villain, and a supporting cast of appetizers played by David Arquette ("The Alarmist"), Jeremy Davies ("Saving Private Ryan") and Jeffrey Jones ("Ed Wood"). Unfortunately, the scary parts are funny and the funny parts are nonexistent and the point of the whole exercise (if there is one) seems to be some metaphorical nonsense about insatiable American jingoism that is brought up and then dropped like a hot potato. This one needs to go back in the oven. Contains gore, flesh eating, silly hand-to-hand fighting and naked buttocks.

-- Michael O'Sullivan