Review by Derrick Carter
Running Time: 1 hour 18 minutes
MPAA Rating: G
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.