Featuring The Voices Of: Matthew McConaughey, Taron Edgerton, Reese Witherspoon, Tori Kelly, Seth Macfarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C Reilly, Jennifer Saunders, Jennifer Hudson, Nick Kroll, Beck Bennett, Jay Pharoah, Nick Offerman, Peter Serafinowicz, Leslie Jones, Rhea Perlman
Directed By: Garth Jennings
Plot: Buster Moon (McConaughey) devises a plan to save his struggling theatre. He launches a singing competition with a grand prize of $1,000. A misprint by his secretary launches the grand prize to 100K, and suddenly everyone in town is showing up to Buster’s, and he might finally ahve the show that will save his theatre. Among those competing for the prize, a gorilla (Edgerton) who doesn’t want to be a gangster, a bored housewife (Witherspoon), a street performing mouse (Macfarlane), an edgy rock porcupine (Johansson), and an elephant with stage fright (Kelly).
What Works: This is a really fun film. It’s just a feel good movie from start to finish. There’s not a ton of core emotional depth here, though each character does go on some kind of individual growth journey. For example, with Edgerton’s character, there’s the family acceptance arc. For Kelly’s elephant, we get the “believe in yourself” arc. So there’s a bit of it, but it doesn’t drive the movie. What does drive it are the characters and the music. The music, mostly. I thought the music was out of place in Trolls, but here it’s the driving force behind the movie, and I didn’t mind that the songs weren’t original. If you’re going to use established pop songs, this is how you use them. I think Sing is enjoyable no matter what age you are. It has a few groan moments for adults, like the requisite fart joke moment, but I think parents will like this as much as their kids will. At least, almost as much.
What Doesn’t Work: It has a few “check your mind at the door” moments, where things happen just to further the plot, but make absolutely no sense. It’s a little lazy and somewhat disappointing, but doesn’t really harm the film too much. It just could have creatively worked a little better if the story progression didn’t hinge on a few twists that make little to no sense. Also, I would have appreciated a few more “bad singers” in the initial montage, because not everyone who shows up to open calls like that can actually sing. Basically, everyone who showed up was at least decent and sang on pitch, even if they weren’t picked for the show.
Final Word: A lot better than I thought it would be. I assumed this was a throw away animated film, and I assumed wrong. This is a film I’d actually love to see again, and wouldn’t mind a sequel to, because I thought the core concept was strong enough, and the characters are interesting enough to sustain. If you’re looking for something to see with the kids, or just a light hearted movie to watch, then Sing is a really good bet.
Final Grade: A-