AN EXTREMELY GOOFY MOVIE (2000)

Review by Derrick Carter

Running Time: 1 hour 16 minutes

MPAA Rating: G

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Directed by: Ian Harrowell & Douglas McCarthy

Written by: Scott Gorden

Voices of: Bill Farmer, Jason Marsden, Jeff Bennett, Jim Cummings, Brad Garrett, Vicki Lewis, Bebe Neuwirth, Rob Paulsen & Pauly Shore

Around the mid-90’s, Disney did something that forever changed opinions on the company as a whole. They began releasing cheap direct-to-video cash-ins on their most popular movies. This might not have been so bad if even the slightest bit of effort was being put into making the unnecessary follow-ups. With ALADDIN, THE LION KING, BEAUTY & THE BEAST, and even POCAHONTAS (for whatever reason) receiving sequels, it seemed like nothing was safe. As time went on, Disney began making cheaper cash-ins for their less successful and famous films, the underrated GOOFY MOVIE being one of them. I’ll give AN EXTREMELY GOOFY MOVIE this. It’s not nearly as a bad as it could have been. You can tell that some form of effort was behind-the-scenes in the making of this 2000 sequel to the 1995 hit. It’s definitely better than almost every other Disney sequel, but that’s not saying a whole lot.

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Max, P.J., and Bobby (once again voiced by Pauly Shore) have graduated high school and are college-bound. While Pete is overjoyed to finally get his son out of the house, Goofy is distraught at the new lonely life without Max. When he loses his factory job, Goofy goes back to college to get a degree…much to the dismay and humiliation of Max. Goofy is a fish-out-of-water whose stuck in the groovy 70’s. Meanwhile, Max and his friends compete against a group of stuck-up frat boys in order to win an X-Games-like competition.

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If nothing else, AN EXTREMELY GOOFY MOVIE tries to be enjoyable for older viewers and kids. The first movie walked a tightrope between heartfelt and wacky to far better effect, but there are moments in this sequel that are genuinely funny. One thing that I imagine far more adults enjoying than kids would be the 70’s memorabilia collected by Goofy and his newfound librarian girlfriend (referencing disco, mood rings, Gilligan’s Island, etc.) as well as a soundtrack that includes stuff like the Partridge Family and “Future’s So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades.” It only makes sense that the Goofy storyline is more entertaining to me than Max’s storyline, but I can’t really imagine too many kids being interested in watching Goofy go to college. Maybe, Goofy falling down, being a klutz and embarrassing the crap out of his kid yet again….but setting this movie in college seems like a strange choice seeing as this is technically a G-rated kid’s movie.

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While Max was a likable teenage character in the first film, something about him is distinctly unlikable this time around. I can’t really place why that is, but it could be attributed to the clichéd college competition and Disney trying far too hard to make him relatable to the younger generation. As Disney went forward into the 2000’s, their TV shows were trying far more desperately to appeal to the cool kids…and rarely succeeding at it. A GOOFY MOVIE had that dated 90’s feel (especially with Pauly Shore voicing the punk character), but EXTREMELY GOOFY MOVIE manages to feel far more dated despite being the most recent of both movies. The X-Games subplot seems bland and has been seen way too many times in other movies.

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As far as other problems go, EXTREMELY GOOFY MOVIE looks cheaper in the quality of its animation. The biggest slap in the face comes from the recycled moral message that was already covered in the first film. This is where the movie really drops the ball and reveals what a pointless exercise in cashing-in this whole film really is. EXTREMELY GOOFY MOVIE tries way too hard to be…well…Extreme (what with the X-Games and college and whatnot), but doesn’t spend enough time on being goofy and genuine. This is still one of Disney’s better direct-to-video sequels (probably tied with the two ALADDIN follow-ups and, maybe, THE LION KING II), but that’s not necessarily a compliment when you consider the competition. You’re better off just sticking with A GOOFY MOVIE and ignoring this sequel.

Grade: C+

A GOOFY MOVIE (1995)

Review by Derrick Carter

Running Time: 1 hour 18 minutes

MPAA Rating: G

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Directed by: Kevin Lima

Written by: Jymn Magon, Chris Matheson & Brian Pimental

Voices of: Bill Farmer, Jason Marsden, Rob Paulsen, Jim Cummings, Kellie Martin, Pauly Shore, Wallace Shawn & Frank Welker

Out of all the Disney characters, Goofy seemed like the oddest choice to center a movie around. This was especially strange, because Goofy’s feature film was being released at a time when Disney was changing its image in the midst of the “Disney Renaissance.” With the likes of ALADDIN, BEAUTY & THE BEAST, and THE LION KING having already made huge waves, I’m sure it seemed as if Disney was taking a step backwards with 1995’s A GOOFY MOVIE. However, their risk eventually paid off as this is one of Disney’s most underrated movies. It also bears mentioning that I do have serious nostalgia for this film, but I’m trying to be as non-biased as possible in this review. Taken on its own merits, A GOOFY MOVIE is a comedy unlike many that Disney has pumped out and remains refreshing to this day.

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One can only assume that A GOOFY MOVIE takes place after all of the previous hijinks with Mickey, Minnie, Donald and (of course) Goofy, seeing as Goofy and Pete have kids of their own. Max, Goofy’s son, is a typical rebellious teenager trying to catch the eye of his high school crush, Roxanne. He accomplishes this by crashing an assembly, but lands himself in hot water with the principal. With Goofy worried about his son becoming a juvenile delinquent (and “winding up in the electric chair”), he decides to take an impromptu road trip with Max. The only problem is that Max had a date lined up with Roxanne. In order to avoid humiliation, Max lies about the road trip and promises to appear on the stage of a famous rock star’s concert. Goofy and Max encounter turbulence on their wacky vacation, only to find that their father-son bond can get them through anything.

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Like many Disney films, A GOOFY MOVIE uses musical numbers throughout its story. Each of these songs sticks out for unique reasons, whether they’re wacky or sentimental or undeniably catchy. Some of these tunes have aged a bit seeing as this was the 90’s (mainly the opening number of “After Today”), but they are all enjoyable to some degree. You wouldn’t necessarily expect a moral in what some could consider a Goofy short turned feature film, you’d be surprised at how touching the overall message about fathers and sons really is. A GOOFY MOVIE mainly sticks to being, well, goofy, but there’s definitely a sweet and heartfelt side too. It’s all boosted by Goofy appearing as a lovable (though extremely annoying) father and Max coming off as a sympathetic teenager trying to live his own life.

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GOOFY MOVIE is also very, very funny. The fast-paced road trip plot gives an excuse to launch Goofy and Max into unexpected ridiculous areas, including a possum theme park and an encounter with Bigfoot. If there’s any film I’d compare A GOOFY MOVIE to, it would be Disney does National Lampoon’s VACATION. The humor is far less crass than that adult comedy, but there’s an edgier side to a few of the jokes that observant older viewers will catch. As funny as the wacky humor and funny lines of dialogue are, not everything works…especially Pauly Shore voicing a Mohawk-sporting, sunglasses-wearing punk (yet another sign that this was the 90’s).

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It may not be nearly up to the same level as ALADDIN or THE LION KING, but A GOOFY MOVIE is well worth watching for Disney fans. This was made at a time when Disney was trying a little too hard to be cool with their TV shows and that sort of translates to this film in its sheer 90’s-ness (fashion trends and Pauly Shore). As a result, GOOFY MOVIE isn’t necessarily great or close to perfect, but it’s one of Disney’s most underrated efforts. Don’t judge it, until you watch it. Two decades later (I can’t believe it’s been that long), A GOOFY MOVIE remains a solid film in Disney’s animated library.

Grade: B+

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