Doug Reviews: Sing (2016)

From Illumination Entertainment (Despicable Me, Secret Life of Pets) and Writer-Director Garth Jennings comes Sing, an animated film about animals singing pop hits. Is it worth seeing or should you just stay home and listen to your iTunes?

Koala Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) is a local theater owner in a city of anthropomorphic animals. Buster’s theater hasn’t been doing too well and the bank is ready to foreclose. That’s when he comes up with the brilliant idea to hold a singing competition in order to drum up business. Now, I’m not sure how doing a one-night singing competition increases revenues significantly—this is not set up like an American Idol, multi-round elimination thing—but, I’ll go with it. Anyway, due to a mistake by Buster’s assistant, Miss Crawly (Jennings), the flyers announcing the contest were misprinted with a cash prize of $100,000. This, of course, draws the attention of hundreds of potential singers. The movie focuses on the following animals: Rosita (Reese Witherspoon), a pig, stressed out mother to a gaggle of kids, and wife to workaholic Norman (Nick Offerman); Mike (Seth MacFarlane), a mouse street musician with a knack for expensive living and getting into trouble; Ash (Scarlett Johansson), a porcupine rocker who seeks solace in her music after a break-up with her boyfriend, Lance (Beck Bennett); Johnny (Taron Egerton), a gorilla teen who works as a wheelman for his criminal father, Big Daddy (Peter Serafinowicz); Gunter (Nick Kroll), a German pig who just wants to dance; and Meena (Tori Kelly), an elephant teen with crippling stage fright. All the contestants outside problems threaten to finish off the show and Buster’s theater. Will the gang pull it off or will all their dreams crumble?

The best part about Sing is that it is an original story that feels like an actual movie. The story has a natural flow to it and ups and downs throughout. It does drag a bit in the middle as all the characters deal with their drama, but overall, it’s a cute film with a nice soundtrack. It would have been nicer if there were more original songs, but when you consider that this is supposed to be a singing competition, it makes sense that these would be mostly cover songs. While the story is original, it was, of course, a bit predictable. However, I was pleased that this felt like a complete film as opposed to the Despicable Me films—don’t get me started on the forgettable Minions—which have their moments, but are not all that great overall. With that being said, the slow parts may make younger audience members squirm a bit in their seats. So, it’s a good animated film, but nowhere on the same level as say, Kubo and the Two Strings or Moana.

The cast of characters is likable and the voice actors do good work with their parts. I was very interested to learn that Taron Egerton can actually sing, which was a nice surprise. All the other main players have sung in the past, so it was clear that they had the chops to deliver on the roles. McConaughey does not sing, though he is very likable as Buster. He’s also a little shady in his business ethics and he has a nice little arc that results in a funny scene between him and his best friend, Eddie, played by John C. Reilly. Jennifer Saunders and Jennifer Hudson also put in good work as the different ages of Eddie’s Nana, a famous singer from the past.

Overall, Sing isn’t the best animated film this year, but it may just be the best animated film that Illumination Entertainment has produced. The story and characters are cute and all their arcs have nice resolutions, though a few are predictable. Your kids will probably enjoy it and you’ll definitely tap your toes to the familiar songs.

 

Rating: B-

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