Wednesday, December 21, 2016


In a year without a true standout animated feature it seems fitting that Sing, an animated film as average as they come, closes out 2016. With a paper-thin plot to allow various characters multiple opportunities to perform popular songs and dance around, Illumination Entertainment offers up a film version of American Idol by offering one lucky contestant fame and fortune. Of course the fact that the person offering it can't actually deliver does through a wrench into the plans of the would-be stars.

With an impressive cast including Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Tori Kelly, Taron Egerton, and Nick Kroll, directors Christophe Lourdelet and Garth Jennings deliver a film that is neither more nor less than you would expect. When the story allows the characters to burst into song the movie works well enough. However, when there are stretches without musical performances, where the real-life troubles (family issues, boyfriend issues, daddy issues, money issues, and so on) of the individual performers get in the way of training for their big night, the movie stalls.

McConaughey has fun with his role as the Koala theater owner (and unscrupulous promoter) with his heart in the right place but knee-deep in debt. The other standouts for me were the porcupine Ash (Johansson) struggling to rebrand herself for the show and Seth McFarlane playing his usual dickish self as the selfish mouse Mike. Edgerton and Witherspoon are also enjoyable, although each character's side-story about the family they are attempting to distance themselves from threatens to derail the plot. I also got a kick out of the K-pop group which our poor Koala could never quite get rid of.

There's nothing about Sing that lends itself more to a theater, other than the ability to sing a long with the crowd (which several young children did at the screening I attended). It's a movie you could easily wait for home video to view. More likely to please children than adults, the only thing surprising about Sing is that it took a studio this long to cash-in on such a popular concept.

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