Goofy's son, Max, is in a dilemma. He's finally gotten the guts to ask the girl he likes out for a sorta-kinda-date during their summer holidays, but his dad Goofy has sudddenly decided to take him on a loooooong father-son fishing trip during this time. Max doesn't react well, and it looks like the start of a road trip from hell.
Max is a teenager, and like a number of teenagers everywhere he's embarassed to death by his super-uncool father. Goofy doesn't really realise how distressed Max is because of this, but that's Goofy for you... He's a sweetheart, but not really the sharpest tack in the box. Anyway, Max has a crush on this girl, Roxanne. But Roxanne doesn't seem to know that he's alive.
On the last day of school Max along with his buddies PJ and Bobby plot a hairbrained scheme to crash the principal's year-end speech with a stage show in which Max dresses up and dances to a song by Powerline (major pop star and idol). They actually pull it off, and though Max gets into trouble, he sure has Roxanne's attention now. In fact, they kinda sorta arrange to become each other's date at Roxanne's friend's party to watch Powerline's live concert in LA.
BUT THEN. Goofy gets a call from the principal detailing Max's escapade, and boy is he shocked. After all, in his eyes Max is his little boy and sure he can be a little grumpy at times but he's a good kid. Still, Goofy thinks that maybe he's made some parenting mistake and needs to reforge the bond he once had with Max. So Goofy decides to take Max on a road trip to Lake Destiny, Idaho. Max protests because hey, he has a super-duper important party to go to! But Goofy just says, "There'll be plenty of parties to go to when you're older. Why, when I was your age, I'd never been invited to a party. Look at me now!"
Max takes to the news like any other teenager would. He sulks. He snarls. He refuses to play along with Goofy's adorable attemps at getting him in the mood. All in all, it looks like it's going to be the worst road trip ever. But then a number of seemingly random events happen, forcing them to start bridging that wide gap between father and son.
This is one of those movies I'd file under 'A Very Enjoyable Surprise'. The title is totally misleading, though, because the story is more about Goofy's son, Max, rather than Goofy himself. (They sorta fixed that in the sequel, An Extremely Goofy Movie, but that's another story.) I honestly didn't expect to enjoy the movie as much as I do, but I did.
This takes place a few years after the series Goof Troop, in which Max was still a little boy just looking out to have a fun. This Max is smack-dab in the middle of awkward teenhood, and like all teens, is embarrassed to death by his father. After all, it's difficult to be cool when your father is Goofy, the model of a very modern major uncool guy. Goofy's the kind of guy that lives to make people laugh. That's what Goofy is. Max, however, doesn't want that kind of life. It's this difference between them that drives them apart.
A Goofy Movie is probably one of the first proper animated movies to address the relationship between an awkward teen and their parent, and the one thing that struck me was the risk they took when they told the story. They were so very honest about the friction between a teen and their parent. Sure, there have been other stories with teens who were unhappy with their parent (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin), but none quite like this. Max's temper tantrum was painful to watch, but man, it was honest and you could see where it came from. Max's anger was balanced by Goofy's desperation to re-connect with his son... The fact that we could see both of views so clearly was very cool. *loves*
It's not just that. If they put all the drama and made the father-son thing all mushy and stuff it wouldn't have worked. This is still a movie starring GOOFY, the number one clown of the Mickey Mouse gang, and he performs. He does his shtick with aplomb, getting in all sorts of funny situations and making a goof of himself, but at the same time they gave him a whole new dimension as Max's dad. I tell ya, when Goofy loses his temper for what seems to be like the first time ever, I actually got a little bit creeped out. That, and when he said the word "stupid". I've never heard Goofy use that word in anger before. Phwoar.
But then they balance that with some genuinely fun things that Goofy and Max can do together. (Who'dve thought that Bigfoot would help them bond?) Keep the funnies rolling! All it works together to in together Goofy's point-of-view and Max's, and by the end they tie all the loose ends together in way that's really satisfying.
One of my favourite scenes is when they're playing 20 questions in the car.
Goofy: Man or woman?Then there's Max's life to look at. Roxanne could have been an obnoxious character but she's a pretty sweet and likeable gal, and there's more to her than meets the eye... If only Max had the courage to look closely. Though I found it quite interesting that Roxanne's hairstyle resembles a certain other redhead's. Max's two buds PJ and Bobby rock in their own dorky ways.
Goofy: *thinks* Walt Disney!
Hey, it's also cool that they compared the relationship that Goofy and Max had with the relationship that Pete and PJ had. Goofy and Max may disagree a lot (at first), but they express their feelings better. Pete and PJ, however... That's disfunctional. Hmm, whatever happened to Peg, PJ's mom?
A note about the music. I LOVE the music. From the opening number After Today right up until the final concert number Eye to Eye. I love them all. That doesn't happen enough to me, so when it does I am very pleased. The soundtrack is good fun pop music, just the way I like it, and just the type of music that the movie needs. The most heartfelt number is of course Nobody Else But You, which was a wonderful way of letting Max and Goofy express their feelings to each other without letting it get burdened with too much talking. I <3 the soundtrack, I do, I do.
The feel-good factor is strong with this one.