A koala named Buster recruits his best friend to help him drum up business for his theater by hosting a singing competition.
Featuring appealing covers of hit songs and an all-star cast, this cute animated comedy capitalizes on the craze for both talking-animal adventures and talent competitions. The movie may not have the substance of Inside Out or the overt messages of Zootopia, but, like Trolls, it's simple, with catchy pop music and jokes that are likely to make kids laugh. (Unlike Trolls, its take-aways aren't quite as thoroughly positive -- see below.) The musical numbers are by far the best part of the movie, including Jennifer Hudson-voiced renditions of "Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight" to the piggy duet of "Shake It Off" (by Witherspoon and comedian Nick Kroll as a German boar called Gunter) to Kelly's show-stopping version of "Hallelujah."
The music is what makes Sing worth the price of admission, because, story- and theme-wise, there are a few missteps that keep it from greatness. Like, say, the depiction of Rosita's home life. She does everything for her 25 piglets, and her burnt-out husband (Nick Offerman) barely registers her. He's so checked out that he doesn't notice when she sets up a Rube-Goldberg contraption to keep the household working when she can't secure a babysitter to participate in the contest. And then there's poor Johnny, who desperately wants his criminal father's approval. A child wanting a parent to see them shine is wonderful, but did they have to make the father in question a bank robber? But if what you want is a bubbly diversion you''l find yourself singing along to after the credits roll, then Sing hits the spot. Just don't think about it too hard.
Illumination Entertainment, Universal Pictures, Fuji Television Network, DENTSU by Garth Jennings, Christophe Lourdelet.
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane.
Genres: Animation, Comedy, Family
Keywords: anthropomorphism singing theater singing competition
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