Straight Outta Nowhere: Scooby-Doo! Meets Courage The Cowardly Dog (2021)

Rating: **
Review Date: 9/27/21
Cast: Frank Welker, Grey Griffin, Matthew Lillard, Kate Micucci

"I can't believe I'm agreeing with the angry old guy."

One of the strangest cartoons I've ever seen. Just as Mystery Inc. is wrapping up another case, Scooby-Doo hears an odd sound that makes him go crazy and he runs away from the gang. He doesn't stop running until he reaches the source of the noise, which is in Nowhere, Kansas. Meanwhile, Courage has also gone crazy from the sound and he eventually bumps into Scooby. Their introduction is brief (they sniff each others' butts just off-camera) and interrupted by a group of giant cicadas that attack them. Thanks to the tracking chip in Scooby's collar, Velma is able to lead the gang to Nowhere just in time to save them from the bugs. After meeting Courage's family (Muriel and Eustace), the gang receives a mysterious dinner invitation from the Mayor of Nowhere, which leads to Shaggy, Scooby, Courage, and Eustace being attacked by more monsters while everyone else tries to figure out the source of the trouble. And that's when things get REALLY weird...

Admittedly, I don't have a lot of history with "Courage The Cowardly Dog." It was one of those shows that I only watched when I was sick in bed with a cold or a fever and couldn't sleep. It was totally bonkers, which was fine in small doses, but being exposed to that same level of lunacy for a feature length film is challenging and a bit punishing. The entire second half goes completely off the rails and my brain just shut down in an act of self-preservation.

It's a good looking production, although the 2D and 3D elements don't mesh together very well. It's also odd seeing the decidedly different art styles from both series mashed together, and it doesn't always work. The humor is hit-and-miss, and potentially funny gags are forced just a little too hard. The show lacks subtlety and aims for primarily juvenile humor with extended fart jokes and pratfalls, but it also has a handful of more sophisticated gags, including a clever reference to "Young Frankenstein" (1974). The voice acting is very good and the character designs stay true to their classic roots. As has been the current trend, Fred continues to be a pathetic and emasculated goober, while Daphne is the feisty and assertive one in the group. She's transformed from "danger-prone Daphne" into "danger-seeking Daphne." Even Velma sees some combat action this time, which was a pleasant surprise. I really wanted to like this kooky mystery, but the complete nonsense of it all just broke me.