Directed By: Douglas McCarthy Released: Feb. 29, 2000
I miss the days when Disney really took risks. With it’s properties now spanning multiple genres and hidden studios working on projects far and wide, Disney doesn’t need to experiment. They found their formula and sticking to it just makes sense. But when the new millennium started, they were ready to try out anything and see what worked. One of those projects was a sequel to the mixed reviewed yet just as experimental The Goofy Movie. However, this time they cut the musical numbers and focused not only on the relationship between father and son but also cultural diversity of college and how those different worlds collide. Creating one of the most fun, strikingly animated Disney films that goes under way too many peoples radar.
Max (Jason Marsden) is leaving for college. He’s going to room with his high school best friends Bobby (Pauly Shore) and P.J (Rob Paulson) to shake up the college extreme sports stage with their totally awesome skating skills. Plus, he finally gets to live away from his overly doting father. Goofy (Bill Farmer) on the other hand is crushed by the loss of his son at home, and thus loses his job because he’s just too sad. To get a job he has to complete college, so that means the two are back together…much to the dismay of Max. Can the two Goofs work together to get through the school year, or will tensions be too hot to handle?
To those just joining us, I reviewed the first film and found that it was a bit…lacking in certain areas. The idea of Goofy being a father and struggling to connect with his teenage son, mirrored by the rebellious son slowly beginning to appreciate the effort his dad puts into their relationship is heartwarming but brought down by needless musical numbers and a rushed third act. The sequel fixes both of those problems while injecting Extremely fun side characters, making it so much more enjoyable of a watch. With so much going on in the relatively short run time you’d think it wouldn’t be able to focus on that core relationship, but it’s arguably much more poignant here. And, in my personal opinion, the sequel better utilizes the characters quirks.
Just the college setting alone makes this film so vibrant and exciting. Road trips are fine, but the liveliness of the campus and being able to tell the different streets apart just by what club or frat lives there makes it a treat to watch. Not only that but seeing all through the eyes of Max who is a strong, confident young man skating down the street showing off with his friends keeps you glued to every frame. He openly challenges the biggest frat on campus to the games, declaring he is going to win with the help of his friends. This dynamic and headstrong personality seems so fitting for Max in contrast to the last film and allows the story to push forward while not feeling forced.
Now I want to go on about how great the side characters are, from the cynical and pompous Bradley Uppercrust III (Jeff Bennett) or the Beret Girl (Vicki Lewis) or even Sylvia Marpole (Bebe Neuwirth) stealing the hearts of not only Goofy but the audience, I just want to talk about P.J. From being just the lovable best friend in Goofy Movie and used to showcase the differences between control and freedom without oppression (deep stuff here), the sequel turns him up to the Extreme. And by that I mean by being the MAN. He’s got sweet moves on a bike and throughout he is kindhearted and a great friend, but when faced with the poetic and beautiful Beret Girl (I tried to find her name but only credited as such) he turns on the charm. He may be shy at first, but when face to face he knows the way to a woman’s heart is through poetry. Knowing he is from such a strict household adds to his character, where the rest of the film he lets himself be who he wants to be and the envy of his eyes falls immediately for this true nature and I couldn’t be happier for him. I was never sad or worried, but seeing him express himself and being acknowledged for it felt so rewarding.
This is about the arc of Goofy, so it’s only natural that he has the best character development. He loses his job as soon as Max leaves, so he needs to go back to college to get a degree (a very relatable topic today) and doesn’t know how to fit in so he dresses the way he knew how to back in the 70’s. The film now has two different styles, the EXTREME sports rivalry between Max and the Gammas and the down to earth 70’s attire whenever Goofy walks in. You could probably guess that the lesson is that Goofy needs to learn about modern standards and personal space with his son.
Wrong. Goofy is determined to get the best education while also getting one last experience with his son. Max understands his fathers position and why he’s there, even if it’s embarrassing. He informs his friends of why his dad needs to do this, and even when Goofy sometimes acts too much like a father he doesn’t (immediately) reject his help. And Goofy’s love for 70’s fashion and culture isn’t pushed away or seen as immature, he finds Sylvia. She shares his love for the past and even sees his hard work for what it is. She doesn’t get involved with the father-son dynamic and only cheers Goofy on to succeed. What about the culture clash between sports and a man stuck in the past? Goofy’s knack for getting into dangerous situations is actually a benefit, he can actually escape the dangers of extreme skating by fumbling around, which is seen as skill by others and is even recruited by the rival team to Max. So every one of Goofy’s traits is used in the film to advance the plot. His love for his son causes him to attend the same college so he can continue to support him, his love of 70’s memorabilia creates a natural but not overbearing relationship we rarely see him have, and his normal character quirk for being a Goof leads to tension in the third act.
I made special mention on how the first films problem is that the third act is arguably the best but poorly implemented in the story. An Extremely Goofy Movie’s third act is also arguably it’s best, but actually feels necessary to the plot and very well implemented. The boys tell us as soon as they reach college that their goal is to win the Xgames. Bradley is the captain of the best team on campus, and he is determined to see Max lose. He sees how having Goofy on his team will cause tension between father and son, so he recruits him. So there is a lot going into the actual games. And it doesn’t disappoint. The animation for the sports is fast, the characters are all on edge, seeing them work together is rewarding. All the pieces of the film come together in the last few minutes, with the right amount of anticipation and cheering from both sides of the screen.
All of this good will is gone with the exclusion of Roxanne. The last scene of the first film is her meeting Goofy and now she’s just gone. She’t not even mentioned.
I absolutely adore An Extremely Goofy movie. As a sequel is takes the core themes of the first and elevates them without making the originals developments unnecessary. I enjoy every new character, some may be caricatures of other Disney tropes but here they fit right into the world. Returning characters are feel more fleshed out, with P.J holding a special place in my heart. And the relationship between Goofs is heartwarming while relatable, with both men understanding each other better by the conclusion. I remember why I loved this movie as a kid, because it really is an Extremely good time.
What are your thoughts? When was the last time you’ve seen An Extremely Goofy Movie? If you’ve seen it recently, or inspired to watch it after this review, do you think it’s as good as you remember? Or are you going to watch it for the first time? Love to hear what you all think.