Where Pixar classics like The Incredibles embody computer animation's boundless potential, the rancid Doogal epitomizes everything that's cheap, tacky, and opportunistic about the CGI revolution, from cringe-inducing attempts at hipness to character design uglier than Dick Cheney's soul. Doogal's long, strange, pointless path to American theaters began with the beloved '60s European cartoon The Magical Roundabout, which was adapted into a British film last year. Then the Weinstein brothers had the film almost entirely re-dubbed by a voice cast brimming with big names, and decided to dump the result into theaters during the dog days of winter to capitalize on the fluke success of Hoodwinked.
Jon Stewart voices the film's villain, an evil sorcerer who freezes a merry-go-round with children inside as part of a sinister plan to freeze the world. So it falls upon a quartet of sassy animals to foil Stewart's evil scheme. Those animals are, in order of obnoxiousness, a singing cow (Whoopi Goldberg), a guitar-playing rabbit (Jimmy Fallon) that resembles a sleazy Ralph Bakshi version of the Quik Bunny, a snail (William H. Macy), and a dog that looks like a brown sentient mop. Kevin Smith provides the voice of a moose whose persistent flatulence reminds audiences that there are arguably lower forms of humor than terrible puns and lame pop-culture references, the main weapons in Doogal's pathetic comic arsenal.
Hungering for more references to the "Wassup" commercials, Dr. Phil, "Bling Bling," The Lord Of The Rings, MC Hammer, or The Matrix? Don't worry, Doogal contains nods to all of these, in addition to seemingly every pop-culture blockbuster of the past two decades. And though Daily Show fans have ample cause to imagine that Jon Stewart can be funny in any context, he proves the opposite here, as his ice-crazed bad guy indulges in every atrocious cold-themed pun Arnold Schwarzenegger never got around to making in Batman & Robin. If nothing else, Doogal should make for an intense drinking game wherein viewers take a shot every time a pun is made or a tired pop phenomenon referenced. But it'd take more than potentially lethal amounts of alcohol to make this derivative trash endurable.