Scooby and the gang at Mystery Inc.--Fred (Freddie Prinze Jr.) Daphne (Sarah Michelle Gellar) Velma (Linda Cardellini) and Shaggy (Matthew Lillard)--are at the top of their game and just about everyone in Coolsville loves them. Even the Coolsonian Museum is honoring them with an exhibit--a costumed display of Mystery Inc.'s former foes such as The Pterodactyl Ghost The Black Knight Ghost and The 10 000 Volt Ghost. Yet at the museum's gala opening the team's stellar reputation is put in serious jeopardy when said monsters come alive re-created by a masked villain who vows to bring Mystery Inc. down. Under pressure from relentless reporter Heather Jasper-Howe (Alicia Silverstone) the gang launches an investigation into the monster outbreak but as the mystery deepens Mystery Inc.'s members end up questioning their roles within the organization. Can macho leader Fred and image-conscious Daphne look past the superficial and find the identity of the Evil Masked Figure? Will brainy Velma let her feelings for Coolsonian Museum curator Patrick Wisely (Seth Green) blossom even though he is a key suspect? And finally can Shaggy and Scooby stop cowering--and eating--long enough to prove they can be detectives? These are tough times for the gang but they've got to pull it together so they can solve the mystery and save the day.
Even though it seems a little ridiculous that Scooby-Doo 2's fleshed-out cartoon characters would try to dig deep to find answers within the returning actors continue to have fun exploring their alter-Scooby-egos. Prinze's Fred has a hipper haircut this time (the original matted blond 'do had to go) and isn't quite the braggart he once was. He is still unquestionably the "face" of the group until he is made to look foolish by the ruthless Heather played with relish by Silverstone who shines in the bad-girl role. Gellar has definitely dropped Daphne's "damsel-in-distress" routine getting all Buffy on the monsters but is still worried that its her looks not her skills that get her attention. Cardellini's Velma on the other hand gets a love interest--and even all dolled up at one point--but can't get rid of her inherent geekiness. It's Shaggy and Scooby who experience the biggest revelation realizing they really are nothing but giant screw-ups. Lillard actually turns in some (and I can't believe I'm actually saying this) poignant moments as Shag grapples with his inequities. They all realize in the end though that for the good of Mystery Inc. it's best to be true to yourself. Thank god.
Director Raja Gosnell goes full throttle in his second Scooby effort with more action and more elaborate theme-parky sets than the original. Even as the characters pause to reflect on their faults these moments are thankfully short-lived before the gang is thrust into another wild chase or fight sequence keeping the kiddies' minds occupied--and allowing the adult fans to laugh at all the monsters they remember from the TV show. One of the criticisms from the first Scooby-Doo was that it didn't provide enough "inside" jokes for the grown-up enthusiasts (and face it there are probably more of them than kids). But Scooby-Doo 2 harkens back to the good old days and even pokes fun at all those criminals whose evil plans and ghost disguises were foiled by the meddlesome quintet. They all gather at their own watering hole called the Faux Ghost where they can throw darts at pictures of the Mystery Inc. gang. Funny stuff. Overall the sequel provides the same madcap fun the original did without requiring the use of too much brainpower.
February 26, 2004 8:49am EST
Top Story: Judge To Settle Dispute With Michael Jackson, Ex-Wife
According to court documents made public Tuesday, Michael Jackson and his ex-wife Debbie Rowe have agreed to let retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephen Lachs mediate an unspecified family dispute. The papers, published on the Smoking Gun Web site (www.thesmokinggun.com), do not specify the nature of the dispute but according to the syndicated show Celebrity Justice, Rowe, a medical assistant who was married to Jackson from 1996 to 1999, is seeking formal custody of their two children, Prince Michael I and Paris. Celebrity Justice reports that Rowe decided to seek custody of the children in part because members of the Nation of Islam, a Black Muslim group, were advising the 45-year-old singer. Jackson is charged with seven counts of lewd acts on a child under the age of 14 and two counts of giving the boy alcohol in order to seduce him. Lachs and attorneys for both Jackson and Rowe declined comment on the dispute or the documents, which were signed by Rowe and Jackson, Reuters reports.
Janet Jackson Won't Play Lena
Janet Jackson and the producers of a planned ABC TV movie about the life of Lena Horne bowed out of the project after the singing legend balked at Jackson's casting. "Janet is no longer part of the (project) because Lena didn't want her in it," Jackson spokesman Stephen Huvane told Reuters Tuesday. "ABC and the producers were supporting Janet, and Janet realized this wasn't going to change, so she needed to bow out, and then the producers bowed out with her. According to published reports, Horne, 86, a veteran entertainer who helped break Hollywood racial barriers in the 1940s, was offended by Jackson's infamous halftime show performance with Justin Timberlake during the Feb. 1 Super Bowl.
Justin Timberlake Out of Motown Special
Justin Timberlake, meanwhile, is out as co-host of ABC's upcoming Motown 45 special. According to Billboard.com, Timberlake's camp cited a scheduling conflict, but the announcement follows a campaign launched by a coalition of black organizations protesting Timberlake's involvement in the special. "The selection of Timberlake as co-host of this Motown special is a cultural insult to the black community," Project Islamic HOPE executive director Najee Ali said in a statement last week. "This special, celebrating the success of the legendary music label, should not be compromised in the pursuit of a crossover audience." But Motown 45 executive producer Jeff Margolis said Timberlake's commitment to the feature film Edison forced him to withdraw. It was not immediately clear whether Timberlake, who was to have co-hosted the show with Lionel Richie, will be replaced.
William "She Bangs" Hung To Make Idol Appearance
American Idol hasn't seen the last of William Hung, the most famous contestant who never made it to the stage. The Associated Press reports Hung, who attracted national attention with his "She Bangs" audition and has since landed several gigs, is slated to guest-appear on American Idol: Uncut, Uncensored & Untalented, a Fox special that will also feature yet more show outtakes, bad auditions and live appearances by contestants and wanna-bes. The one-hour special hosted by Ryan Seacrest airs Monday on Fox.
Jolie To Carry Olympic Torch
Angelina Jolie's latest role is one of Olympic proportions. The Lara Croft star has agreed to be one of the final torchbearers at the Athens Olympics the day before the lighting of the Olympic cauldron at the opening ceremony on August 13. Jolie, who is also a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, will carry the Olympic torch for a few hundred meters on the afternoon of August 12, as the international relay comes to a close in the Greek capital after crossing all five continents, Reuters reports. Jolie, 29, is the first high-profile torchbearer to accept an invitation to run in the relay on its return to Greece.
Sex Finale Big for HBO
The series finale of HBO's Emmy-winning comedy Sex and the City nabbed 10.6 million viewers when it aired Sunday night--the biggest audience of the show's six-season run, Reuters reports. The episode also drew the highest household rating on HBO (21.8) since the September 2002 premiere of the fourth season of mob drama The Sopranos, which averaged 13.4 million viewers to then rank as the most watched original program in the history of the cable channel. The 45-minute telecast, however was paled in overall audience by ABC's return of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, with 17.5 million viewers overall, and NBC's Law & Order: Criminal Intent, which garnered 14.5 million viewers overall.
Prince Returns to Pop Life
Let's go crazy! Maybe it was his performance of Purple Rain with Beyonce at this month's Grammy ceremony that inspired him--the Purple One is returning to the stage with his first national tour in six years. According to the AP, the 45-year-old Prince, who dropped out of the mainstream in the '90s, will perform classic hits including When Doves Cry and Little Red Corvette. "It's older music, but it's going to be played in a newer way," Prince said Tuesday. The normally media-shy singer followed his announcement with a half-hour concert in Los Angeles backed by his eight-piece group, the New Power Generation Band, and performed the title song from his upcoming album Musicology. Prince is currently in negotiations with various record labels since parting with Warner Bros. in 1996 after a highly publicized feud. The tour begins March 29 in Los Angeles and will hit at least 38 cities.
Role Call: Downey, Kilmer in Kiss, Kiss; IFC Acquires Metallica Pic
Lethal Weapon scribes Shane Black and producer Joel Silver are reuniting for Warner Bros.' Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang, a buddy actioner to star Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer and Michelle Monaghan. According to Variety, Down
Top Story: Pop Princess Rules Pop Charts
Aided by her whirlwind publicity tour, Britney Spears hit the top of the music charts Wednesday with her new album In the Zone, Reuters reports. This marks the fourth consecutive No. 1 album for Spears, although sales fell short of her previous efforts. While Zone sold 609,000 units, it paled in comparison to her 2001 release Britney which sold 746,000 and her 2000 release Oops!...I Did It Again, which sold 1.3 million. Meanwhile, Michael Jackson's greatest hits album Number Ones, which released last Tuesday, the same day authorities searched his Neverland ranch in response to child sexual molestation charges, failed to make the top 10, ranking 13th, selling only 122,000 units. Coming in at No. 2 on the top album charts this past week was G-Unit's Beg for Mercy, which sold 327,000 units, while another big-selling new release, Blink 182's Blink 182, ranked No. 3 with 313,000 units, Reuters reports.
Tiger Woods To Marry Ex-Model
Golf's whiz-kid Tiger Woods, 27, plans to marry his Swedish girlfriend, Elin, 23, a former model, Reuters reports. Woods popped the question after the President's Cup golf competition in South Africa, according to Sweden's newspaper Expressen. Elin said "Yes" and called her father, telling him: "Dad, we are engaged." "She called me yesterday morning and was incredibly happy," Elin's father, Thomas Nordegren, told Expressen. Woods met Elin when she was working as a nanny for the children of Swedish professional golfer Jesper Parnevik, Reuters reports.
Berry Settles Homeowner Dispute
Halle Berry tentatively settled a $2 million counter suit she filed against the previous owners of a Beverly Hills property, claiming they did not tell her the home she bought from them needed $1 million in stabilization work. According to The Associated Press, the 35-year-old Oscar winner said that the house "turned out to contain major undisclosed defects [including numerous geological defects] that would require over $1 million in corrective measures" and that she only found out after the purchase was completed. AP reports Jonathan and Alison Roth originally filed suit against the actress, saying Berry agreed to buy the house "as-is." The terms of the settlement should become final in January.
Warrant Out for Rapper DJ Quik's Arrest
Rapper and producer DJ Quik is wanted by police in California's San Bernadino County for allegedly storming into his sister's home Nov. 2 and repeatedly punching her in the face, AP reports. An arrest warrant was issued this week after county prosecutors charged Quik, whose given name is David Martin Blake, with burglary and assault, Fontana, Calif., police spokeswoman Dawn Rowe told AP.
Photographers Acquitted in Princess Diana Accident
Three photographers who took pictures of Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed after they were killed in a deadly car crash in Paris on Aug. 31, 1997, were acquitted Friday by a French court of charges that they invaded the couple's privacy, AP reports. The trial stemmed from a criminal complaint for invasion of privacy filed by Fayed's father, Egyptian-born billionaire Mohammed Al Fayed. Diana's relatives and the British royal family were not plaintiffs in the case. In 2002, France's highest court also dropped manslaughter charges against nine photographers--including the three acquitted Friday, AP reports.
Michael Jackson admits he made a "terrible mistake" when he held his six-month-old son over a fourth-floor hotel balcony Tuesday.
"I made a terrible mistake," he said in a statement. "I got caught up in the excitement of the moment. I would never intentionally endanger the lives of my children."
The Associated Press reports the King of Pop, currently in Berlin to accept a Bambi Award for lifetime achievement for his work with homeless children, says he got caught up in the excitement of waving to his fans, who were asking to see his new son, Prince Michael II. Jackson brought the baby out, with a cloth over his head, and held him briefly over the balcony railing. The scene was captured on video and played over and over on German and U.S. news broadcasts.
A Chicago-based advocacy group, Prevent Child Abuse, told AP Jackson's actions, while lacking good judgment, did not result in any real harm to the boy.
"It is a painful reminder that even the most well-intentioned among us sometimes act in ways that put children in danger of being abused or neglected," A. Sidney Johnson, president and CEO of the group, told AP.
Jackson has two other children--a boy, Prince Michael, 5 and a girl, Paris, 4--with his ex-wife Debbie Rowe, whom he divorced in 1999. People magazine reported in August that the newest Jackson family addition was not adopted but the identity of the mother was unknown.
This latest incident comes after the stir the star created last week in California, where he testified in a $21 million civil lawsuit against him that claims he backed out of several concert dates. His strange appearance shocked many in the courtroom.
August 22, 2002 12:31pm EST
Pop oddity Michael Jackson has a not-so-new bouncing baby boy. In its latest issue, People magazine reports that Jackson brought the 6-month-old baby backstage at Siegfried and Roy's Las Vegas show on July 30, along with his two other children, Prince Michael, 5, and daughter Paris, 4. The mother's identity remains a mystery, but a source tells the magazine the child was conceived the old-fashioned way, and added, "(Jackson) said, 'This is my third child." Jackson, 43, has reportedly been introducing the tot as "Prince Michael II" and "No. 3." Friends of the singer told People that Jackson's ex-wife Deborah Rowe, a former dermatologist's assistant and mother of his two other children, is possibly the baby's mother. The two were married in 1996 and divorced three years later.
The 2002 Venice Film Festival, which runs Aug. 29 through Sept. 8, is shunning the paparazzi. According to The Associated Press, celebs will no longer have to strut past photographers and eager fans when heading to premieres and will instead arrive by car. Organizers say they did away with the 60-yard walk because it proved embarrassing for lesser-known film figures, plus the festival has a new sponsor providing spiffy cars for the new entrance.
Hugh Grant really does have a soft side, after all. In an interview with Hello! magazine, Liz Hurley said her ex-boyfriend and one of several godfathers to her son Damian has been a regular visitor to her home in South Kensington, west London. "Hugh has never really been familiar with any children," she said, "But yeah, he does a little bit of coochy-cooing, and he tickles him. He's great with him. He's sweet."
Veteran metal rocker Ozzy Osbourne said he feels like his "spirit's dead" since learning that his wife and manager, Sharon, has cancer, Reuters reports. Osbourne recalled feeling apprehensive after the success of his MTV show The Osbournes in an interview on On the Record with Greta Van Susteren. "I remember saying to Sharon, 'This is too good right now, we're getting so much good stuff, nothing gets that high without coming down with a bang,'" he said. The interview airs this week on the Fox News channel.
Taye Diggs has been added to the ensemble cast of A Midsummer Night's Rave, Variety reports. The film, a Shakespeare-based romantic comedy about twentysomethings influenced by a drug dealer named Puck, also stars Andrew Keegan, Sunny Mabrey, Corey Pearson, Chris Owen, Jason London, Greg Zola, Ted Stryker, Carrie Fisher, Lauren German, Chad Lindberg, Matt Czuchry and Will McCormack.
Producers of ABC's upcoming remake of the TV cop show Dragnet said Wednesday actor Danny Huston will play the lead character--a Los Angeles police detective, Reuters reports. Huston, 40, is the son of John Huston, who directed film noir classics like The Maltese Falcon, and the half-brother of actress Anjelica Huston.
CBS said Wednesday that 60 Minutes reporter Lesley Stahl will replace Dan Rather as anchor for 48 Hours Investigates. According to Reuters, Rather will focus more time on 60 Minutes II and his current position as anchor for the CBS Evening News.
Singer Cyndi Lauper tripped onstage and fell about 5 feet while performing to a sell-out crowd in Oklahoma City, hurting her shin and ankle. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lauper--opening for Cher's farewell tour--continued with her set but later had to be carried off by a stagehand. She was taken to a hospital, where she was treated and released a few hours later.
Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons has joined forces with the NAACP and the Rock the Vote campaign to relaunch Rap the Vote, a project aimed at getting people ages 18 to 24 to vote, the AP reports. Developed two years after Rock the Vote was launched in 1990, Rap the Vote is aimed at reaching those more into hip-hop than rock. The public-service announcements, featuring Sean "P. Diddy" Combs and Rosie Perez, are intended to increase voter registration for the 2004 presidential race.