Review: ‘Blue’s Big City Adventure,’ starring Josh Dela Cruz and the voice of Traci Paige Johnson

March 11, 2023

by Carla Hay

Blue (voiced by Traci Paige Johnson) and Josh Dela Cruz in “Blue’s Big City Adventure” (Photo courtesy of Nickelodeon/Paramount+)

“Blue’s Big City Adventure”

Directed by Matt Stawski

Culture Representation: Taking place mainly in New York City, the live-action/animated/musical film “Blue’s Big City Adventure” features a racially diverse cast of characters (Asian, white, African American and Latino) representing the working-class and middle-class.

Culture Clash: Josh and his dog best friend Blue travel to New York City so that Josh can audition for a Broadway musical, but they encounter obstacles along the way. 

Culture Audience: “Blue’s Big City Adventure” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of the “Blue’s Clues & You!” TV series and musical family-oriented films.

Josh Dela Cruz and Blue (voiced by Traci Paige Johnson) in “Blue’s Big City Adventure” (Photo courtesy of Nickelodeon/Paramount+)

As long as viewers know in advance that children under the age of 10 are the target audience for “Blue’s Big City Adventure,” it’s much more enjoyable to watch. It’s sweet, sincere, and has some cute musical moments. The movie is based on Nickelodeon’s “Blue’s Clues & You!” series, which is a spinoff revival of Nickelodeon’s 1996 to 2006 TV series “Blue’s Clues.” Both shows are about the live-action/animated adventures of an inquisitive dog named Blue (shown in animated form) and his human best friend. It’s completely lightweight and harmless entertainment with positive messages of self-acceptance and empathy for others.

Directed by Matt Stawski and written by Angela Santomero, “Blue’s Big City Adventure” has a simple plot. Blue’s cheerful best friend Josh (played by Josh Dela Cruz) gets an audition in New York City for a Broadway musical starring Rainbow Puppy (voiced by Brianna Bryan), one of the recurring characters in the “Blue’s Clues” series. Josh finds out about this audition when he gets a letter from Rainbow Puppy, who comes to life in the envelope.

The next thing you know, Josh and Blue are in New York City, with four of their non-human friends along for the ride: a bar of soap named Slippery Soap (voiced by Jacob Soley); an alarm clock called Tickety Tock (voiced by Ava Augustin); a shaker of salt named Mr. Salt (voiced by Nick Balaban); and a shaker of pepper named Mrs. Pepper (voiced by Gisele Rosseau). They board a bus that floats magically into a Times Square billboard.

The sights and sounds of bustling Times Square are overwhelming and fascinating for these new visitors. Josh has directions to the audition in his “handy-dandy notebook.” And predictably, the notebook gets lost, and Josh doesn’t remember the address. There are some other obstacles on the way to the audition.

“Blue’s Big City Adventure” has several original songs performed as musical scenes in the movie. A standout is “On My Way,” which is the featured tune when Josh and his group first arrive in New York City. The pals’ big city adventure takes them to famous places in New York City, such as Central Park, Grand Central Station and, of course, the Broadway Theater District.

Several well-known entertainers have nameless cameos or supporting roles. Alex Winter plays a taxi driver who gives Josh and Blue a ride. BD Wong is the musical’s director. Phillipa Soo (of “Hamilton” fame) plays an auditioner. Tony-winning actress Ali Stoker plays a version of herself. The movie also features former “Blue’s Clues” stars Steve Burns (as Steve) and Donovan Patton (as Joe) together in a scene with Dela Cruz.

“Blue’s Big City Adventure” is as bubbly and sugary as a soft drink. The movie doesn’t try to be masterful entertainment. It’s entirely predictable, but it doesn’t feel like a complete waste of time to watch. The musical numbers are perky and uplifting. And all of the characters are inoffensively appealing. In other words, it’s adorable family-oriented entertainment for kids and people who are kids at heart.

Paramount+ premiered “Blue’s Big City Adventure” on November 18, 2023.

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