8 March 2016 | StevePulaski
A wonderful continuation of an idea that still has plenty of ground to cover
Riley's First Date? is one of presumably several short sequels Pixar Animation Studios will make to further the world of their latest success story Inside Out. That film had the ability not only to inspire a wide-variety of ideas that could continue to develop the characters, but also managed to end by setting up the emotional banter and wit that ensued when the focused shifted into the heads of other characters. Inside Out's first short sequel plays with this by taking another look inside the heads of Riley's mother and father during nearly every parent's most feared situation.
When a young boy named Jordan (voiced by Ben Cox) comes over to Riley's (Kaitlyn Dias) house to hang out, Riley's mother and father (Diane Lane and Kyle MacLachlan) immediately assume the "worst:" she has a boyfriend. Being that Riley is now twelve, she is inching ever-so closer to being a teenager, so similarly with Inside Out gradually hinting at the loss of childhood innocence by way of natural development, Riley's First Date? continues to expand on that idea. The short, in just under five minutes, focuses on how Riley's mother and father go about reacting to Jordan, despite no comment or indication that the two are dating. Riley's mother, whose emotional headquarters is lead by a less-brazen version of "Sadness," decides to try and pander to her daughter in way of cheap slang and lingo, while Riley's father, whose emotional headquarters is lead by a more conservative form of "Anger," decides to play defensively to try and intimidate Jordan.
The short's brevity is a nice feature, as this isn't a lofty topic and, unlike Inside Out, which is almost entirely played seriously to showcase an eleven-year-old's emotions, this is played for laughs based on a recognizable situation. With that, Riley's First Date? is a sweet and sincere continuation of an idea that, despite its heavy pop culture exposure in the last few months, still has the ability and the promise it did when we first came into contact with it nearly a year ago.
Voiced by: Kaitlyn Dias, Diane Lane, Kyle MacLachlan, and Ben Cox. Directed by: Josh Cooley.