For the uninitiated “Phineas and Ferb,” the animated Disney Channel show which ran from 2007 to 2015, was a kind of kid-friendly version of “The Simpsons” that saw suburban stepbrothers have fun on their summer vacation. After over one hundred television adventures and a 2011 movie trip to the second dimension what is left to do with these two cartoon kids in “Phineas And Ferb The Movie: Candace Against the Universe,” now on Disney+?
As on the TV show, older sister Candace (voice of Ashley Tisdale) is feeling put upon and underappreciated by her brothers. Even her complaints to her parents fall on deaf ears. “Every day you call me to tell me that Phineas and Ferb have built some unbelievable thing,” says mom (Caroline Rhea), “and every day I come home to find nothing there. Doesn’t it exhaust you? It exhausts me.” When she is abducted by aliens and taken to another planet the enterprising brothers (voices of Vincent Martella and David Errigo Jr. respectively) jet off into space to rescue her.
Trouble is, she doesn’t need rescuing. The aliens treat her better than her family did—they call her The Chosen One—and she’s having fun… until she learns the truth of her new alien friends. “I used to think the universe was against me,” Candace says, “but now I realize it’s me against the universe.”
“Phineas And Ferb The Movie: Candace Against the Universe” reunites the original creative team– creators/executive producers Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh—and most of the television cast. New comers include comedian Ali Wong as Super Super Big Doctor, improv king Wayne Brady as Stapler Fist and actor Diedrich Bader. The result is a movie that feels like a continuation rather than a reboot of the series, complete with new, fun songs by guest songwriters like Karey Kirkpatrick of the musical comedy duo Garfunkel and Oates.
The movie is definitely aimed at kids, from the broad humour to the bright colours, the wild action and good messages—“You may not be the Chosen One,” Phineas and Ferb tell her, “but we choose you as a sister every time.”—but it doesn’t talk down to its audience. It’s smart, funny and there’s even stuff in there the parents will enjoy.