Wednesday, December 17, 2014

#1,584. Mike's New Car (2002)

Directed By: Pete Docter, Roger Gould

Starring: Billy Crystal, John Goodman

Trivia: Screened exclusively with a limited two-week reissue of Who Framed Roger Rabbit to qualify for Oscar consideration

Mike’s New Car, a 2002 short produced by Pixar, marked a number of “firsts” for the studio. Along with being the first short film to star characters from a previously released work (Mike and Sully from 2001’s Monsters, Inc.), it was also the first ever to feature spoken dialogue (aside from some sound effects and their musical scores, movies like Tin Toy and Geri’s Game were silent).

One morning, Mike (Billy Crystal) surprises his good friend Sulley (John Goodman) by showing him his new car (when Sulley asks what was wrong with his previous car, Mike replies “Three little words… Six Wheel Drive!”). Excited to take it for a spin, Mike hurries Sulley into the passenger’s seat, then takes his place behind the wheel (Sulley doesn’t have much room at first, but fortunately, the seats are adjustable). Before they begin, an alarm sounds reminding the two to put on their safety belts. This kicks off a comedy of errors after which Mike realizes that “new” isn’t always “better”.

As they’ve done with so many of their short films (including the previous year’s For the Birds), Pixar squeezes a number of big laughs into Mike’s New Car, most of which involve Mike trying to figure out how this new vehicle of his works. After inadvertently locking himself out of the car while trying to loosen his safety belt, Mike tells Sulley to “push the button”, which should re-open the driver’s side door. But when Sulley glances at the console, he sees nothing but buttons, and doesn’t know which one to push. Following a few wrong choices, the door is finally opened, but when Mike realizes he, too, has no idea which button does what, the car seemingly comes to life and attacks the two buddies. It’s a very funny scene in what, from beginning to end, is a hilarious short film.

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