For several years we’ve had a weekly tradition of a movie night together. We rotate who’s turn it is each week and everybody gets a pick. Can it be a challenging battle of tastes when the youngest is in kindergarten and the oldest in fifth grade? Absolutely. But as we reiterate every week – don’t yuck someone else’s yum. And in the end, most of the time we all end up having a good time, regardless of the choice. A big bowl of popcorn doesn’t hurt either.
Recently, our kindergartner chose “Blues Big City Adventure” – a new movie with the famous blue-hued dog from Blues Clues and You and Josh (Joshua Dela Cruz) leaving their Storybook World behind for New York City, chasing after Josh’s dream of landing an audition for a Broadway show.
In art imitating life, everything Josh and Blue touch in the Big Apple come to life in exciting and inspiring ways, from condiments on a hot dog cart to trees in the park, or just the spontaneous need into inspiring song and dance all come courtesy of Josh’s infectious energy and kindness. It’s art imitating life, as even as a grown-up viewer, you can not help but be swept up in Josh’s enthusiastic spirit. And, of course, he and Blue are not alone.
Of course, when Josh realizes he left his notebook at home with the audition address, the real adventure begins for them to find their way, while old friends from back home, like Mr. Salt take to the big city to get Josh his notebook, with the help of some old friends – Steve and Joe (Steve Burns and Donovan Patton, respectively). Even Alex Winter of Bill & Ted fame shows up offering some sage life advice as a wise cab driver.
While Blue’s Clues was after my time, I’m fully aware of the roles that Steve and Joe played to young viewers throughout their tenure, so it’s pure joy to see these guys fully embracing their place in the legacy of children’s programming and reprising their roles with a bit of experience and hilarious self awareness.
When Mr. Salt, the talking salt shaker, tracks down Steve (now a Detective) to help find Josh’s lost notebook with the address of the audition, Mr Salt and Steve briefly reminisce about the good old days and the 3 clues that Josh (and his predecessors of course) jotted down to find a solution. In a wink and nod moment, Steve, looking off in the distance longingly reflects on the passage of time from his days of tracking three clues with Blue to solve a puzzle, telling Mr Salt. “Those were the days. These days I need four clues. Maybe five.” His straightforward delivery when picking up mustard to put on his hot dog (without a Thinking Chair these days, Steve relies on thinking food in the big city), he is unflappable as he greets the talking mustard container with an unfazed “Hello. How are you? Good to see you,” that is as natural as saying hi to an acquaintance walking down the street.
The banter between Steve and Joe as they work together to track down Josh and return his notebook is as good as any buddy cop picture, and their abilities to both embrace and have fun in the roles forever placed in the hearts of the franchise’s growing audience is a pure delight, no matter your age.
Does Josh make it to the audition with the help of his friends? Of course he does! This is Blue’s Clues, after all! Can you imagine if he hadn’t? All is well with the world when the nearly 90 minute song and dance adventure comes to a close, and all of us, child and adult alike are left with an inspiring feeling to never give up on yourself.
Blue’s Clues: Blue’s Big City Adventure is available to stream via Paramount+.