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Disney's "Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension" is silly, smart, somewhat subversive summer fun

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Disney's "Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension" is silly, smart, somewhat subversive summer fun

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You know, the "Phineas & Ferb" universe has some hard-and-fast rules (WARNING !! There are spoilers ahead. If you're not already familiar with the inner working of this Emmy Award-winning Disney Channel & Disney XD series, now would be a very good time to bail out of today's JHM article).

1) The show's title characters are unaware that Perry, their pet platypus has a secret identity. That he's Agent P, a secret agent who continually does battle with Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz.

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2) Dr. Doofenschmirtz is never able to connect the dots (i.e. realize that Phineas & Ferb's pet is the exact same platypus who keeps thwarting his schemes).

3) Phineas & Ferb's sister Candace is obsessed with A) busting her brothers and B) mooning over her boyfriend Jeremy.

Which is what makes this Friday night's Disney Channel Original Movie, "Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension" so much fun. In that series creators Dan Povenmire & Jeff "Swampy" Marsh - working with Jon Colton Barry - have crafted a teleplay that gleefully tosses all of Phineas & Ferb's hard-and-fast rules right out the window.

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Take - for example - what happens when young Mr. Flynn discovers that his pet platypus has been hiding his secret identity from the step brothers for all of these years. The normally upbeat & sunny Phineas suddenly becomes irate. He turns to Perry and says "Wait a minute. I just realized. You could have been cleaning your own litter box this whole time. Oh, we are not done with this conversation."

You see what I'm saying? The teleplay that Barry, Marsh and Povenmire put together for this new Disney Channel Original Movie has a genuinely silly &subversive streak. Which is why the story of "Across the 2nd Dimension" never quite goes where you expect it to.

Which brings me to what happens when Doofenschmirtz finally fires up his latest invention, which is an alternate dimension-nator. And the first image that Heinz gets to see from beyond his plain of existence is that of ... a couch. Which Doofenschmirtz immediately decides to swap for the somewhat dumpy couch that he currently has in his lair. Which is smelling pretty funky right about now, given that Perry the Platypus has just peed on the thing.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

But it's not too long before Heinz meets up with the other Doofenshmirtz, who is the supreme leader of this alternate dimension. Which then leads to one of "Across the 2nd Dimension" 's more memorable song-and-dance numbers, "A Brand New Best Man (And it's Me)." Where - in a witty montage sequence - the two Heinzes are then depicted as some of the great teams from film & television history. Among them Ralph Kramden & Ed Norton, Lucy & Ethel, Laverne & Shirley and Jake & Elwood Blues. Not to mention Laurel and Hardy as well as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

And speaking of movies ..."Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension" features all sorts of great little nods to classic genre films. Whether it's Major Monogram's hologram echoing the sound & the underscore from that moment in "Star Wars IV: A New Hope" where Obi Wan Kenobi first sees Princess Leia's hologram or those swarms of Normbots flying out over Danville that clearly reference the flying monkeys from "The Wizard of Oz". Or that cliffhanger of an action sequence where Phineas, Ferb, Candace, Perry and Heinz are dangling over a pool of hot lava;  a scene which was obviously heavily influenced by "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom."

"And how do they get out of that one?," you ask. Well, I don't want to give away too much of the plot of this new Disney Channel Original Movie. But wait 'til you see the alternate dimension version of Candace. Who's basically the general in charge of the resistance and is this completely fearless character.

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But perhaps the most important question is - if you haven't ever seen an episode of Disney's "Phineas & Ferb" - can you really enjoy watching "Across the 2nd Dimension" ? Well, I have to admit that if you're completely unfamiliar with this Disney Channel & Disney XD series, there's at least one scene (i.e. where Phineas, Ferb & friends - as they get ready to do battle with those swarms of Normbots that the evil Doofenshmitz  has unleashed on Danville - basically trot out every bizarre device & contraption that the step brothers have invented over the course of this TV show) that probably won't play as well as it should.

But even if you're an adult who doesn't have any kids in your life, you'll still undoubtedly enjoy watching "Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension." If only for this TV movie's nonsequitur-filled dialogue (EX: "Get me. I'm a Georgia O'Keefe painting," "I don't believe it. I am a woman of science. Or at least that's what my horoscope said." "Two words: La. Va." "You know, my crimes against humanity had just completely slipped my mind." "I never built an amnesia-inator. I think I'd remember building something like that").

So I guess what I'm trying to say here is ... Don't make the mistake of thinking that "Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension" is just some throwaway  piece of entertainment that's aimed at the kiddies. This Disney Channel Original Movie is a silly, smart if somewhat subversive summer tonic. Full of the sorts of witty exchanges ...

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PHINEAS: We just want to go home.

ALTERNATE DIMENSION CANDACE: So what's stopping you?

PHINEAS: Right now, quantum physics.

... that will stick with you long after this new TV movie ("In Fabulous 2D") has initially aired on the Disney Channel & Disney XD.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

"Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension" premieres this Friday night, August 5th on the Disney Channel at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

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  • I really tried to like this show--and sometimes it's clever and funny. But unlike what Bob Iger claims, Phineas and Ferb is no SpongeBob SquarePants. The problem is that every single episode is the same plot: P&F create something crazy; Candace almost catches them, but doesn't as said invention disappears before Mom/Dad see it. Meanwhile, Perry has a pointless battle with Doofensmirtz as the platypus always wins, and there are no consequences for losing.

    With SpongeBob, they created a world of interesting characters, and plots can go in different directions. SpongeBob can go to driving school with nary a mention of the Chumbucket or Crabby Patties. Or the whole episode could be just Patrick and SpongeBob. Or just Mr Crabs and Plankton. The plots don't follow the same structure every time. P&F has never strayed from its all too-confining formula.

    Basically, P&F is tiresome, and it's going to wear out. I'm sure kids like it (I see plenty wearing Perry t-shirts), but I doubt it will be around in 15 years the way Spongebob will be.

  • I agree with Joe. It amuses me to see weathermen-turned middle-aged CEOs claim to be experts on animated programs aimed at younger audiences. How many cartoons does Bob Iger really watch to make him the expert or does he just talk up whichever product his studio makes like a loyal CEO should do?

  • Bob Iger ate my baby.

  • I've tried SpongeBob a few times and just don't get it.  Phineas and Ferb is more clever than most shows in that all of the plots nicely come together by the end of each episode.  The range of musical genres is impressive with great lyrics to boot.  And it is funny!  I got my grandchildren into Phineas & Ferb and their mom (my daughter) also watches.  Some people like silly (SpongeBob) and that's fine.  I'll take P & F any day.

  • I'm just really happy that when I was a kid we had shows like Ducktales, Darkwing Duck, and the whole Disney Afternoon lot, and not the kind of shows that air on Disney right now. I introduced by 8 year old nephew to Ducktales and he says its "the best show he's ever seen". P&F and most of the current Disney tv shows lack that magic...

  • Here's a question for you Jim (by the way, I loved the movie and appreciate P&F more than some of your other readers, apparently). Olivia Olsen, the voice actress for Vanessa Doofenshmirtz is listed in the credits of the movie as Vanessa, yet I didn't see her character at all. I know Olivia also sings many of the songs on the show, and may have sung some in the movie, but that wouldn't warrant her Vanessa credit. Do you know if there were any deleted scenes with Vanessa appearing that didn't make it into the final cut?



  • I love Phineas and Ferb!  Even though it has the same plot, I love seeing the different inventions the two brothers make.  It's also very funny.  I love the continuity of different things in the show, like the Giant Floating Baby Head, or the Zebra that calls Candace "Kevin", or the characters' different catch phrases.  Doofenshmirtz and Perry are awesome too.  I love how Dr. D is sometimes called "Doof".  I think that this is the best show ever!  I have Disney Channel on Demand and have watched the movie seven times already!  I can't wait to see it again!

  • love it

  • love it so much

  • I'am  gonna  really   watch  this   movie!!!


  • i love your show i want to see you.

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