The movie wants to be the cartoon version of The Voice. Yet, audience members don’t get enough of an original story to want to turn their chairs around. The movie doesn’t come close to the humor and heart of the studio’s summer hit, The Secret Life of Pets.
The film follows Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey), a down-on-his-luck koala. He’s trying to save his crumbling theater so he decides to stage a singing competition to lure folks back. Buster is cute, cuddly and somewhat smarmy in his dealings. You want to like the character but you don’t fall in love with him because in a world where reality shows have hit their peak, the concept seems a bit tired.
Even the fast-paced, zoom intro of the five lead contestants doesn’t keep one’s attention long enough to really care for these critters, who are, in no particular order, Mike (Seth MacFarlane), a con-artist mouse who croons; Meena (Tori Kelly), a shy elephant stricken with stage fright; Rosita (Reese Witherspoon), a singing sow with a litter of 25 piglets; Johnny (Taron Egerton), a gangster gorilla; and Ash (Scarlett Johansson), a punk-rock porcupine.
The audition process is a la American Idol, the plot twist is unsurprising and the majority of music doesn’t come until the end. In fact, even with more than 60 songs listed in the credits, the film doesn’t seem like a musical.
Still, young audiences will like the animal characters and savor the familiar tunes enough to repeat on DVD. As a cinematic event though, Sing falls flat.
☆☆1/2 (out of five)
Director: Garth Jennings
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton, Tori Kelly
Rated: PG (rude humor and mild peril)
Running time: 108 min.