Making the Grades
Remember watching Goofy teach freeway etiquette in driving school? Or Goofy's vacation movies? Sorry, maybe you don't relate, but for me those still hold the best laughs I can get from animation. With that in mind, I went into A Goofy Movie with some scepticism. Will Goofy still be funny and teach something valuable at the same time?
Now Goofy, as the father of a teenage boy (no mother is ever mentioned), is determined to have a closer relationship with his son, Max. This new initiative comes after the principal calls to inform Mr. Goof (his new name now that he has entered fatherhood) that Max was responsible for instigating a riot at school. Following the usual film formula, the principal is the big bad guy, while Max, a bit of a nerdy kid, can only gain acceptance from his peers and that "special" girl by making a fool of the principal and breaking a handbook of rules.
So Goofy decides that it's time to take his son away for the summer on a fishing trip. But that means Max will miss the big upcoming party with his new girlfriend and seeing the fictitiously famous Powerlines rock concert on TV. So Max puts together the ultimate excuse for his girl: He's going to Los Angeles with his Dad so he can appear with the Powerlines. Of course, Goofy hasn't a clue about this arrangement, but trusts his son with the job of navigating them to his favorite fishing hole. Max ultimately makes the wrong choice, and deliberately directs his Dad down the road to LA.
This movie tries to build a warm father and son story, and succeeds in some areas. Unfortunately, though, the writers went for the easy "only could happen in the movies" solution at the end. That's too bad, because along with the stereotyped school characters, the poor writing sells out an otherwise great idea. After all, if Goofy could teach our parents how to drive, surely he can teach us a few things about raising kids.