“Sing 2,” the new animated movie starring the voices of Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson and Taron Egerton, and now playing in theatres, is big, loud and glitzy but unfortunately the story is as unimaginative as this sequel’s title.
Fans of the first film will remember Buster Moon (McConaughey), the cheerful koala owner of the Moon theater. After rebuilding the place he’s kept the doors open, but is now in a bit of a slump. His production of “Alice in Wonderland,” starring Meena the elephant (Tori Kelly), who overcame stage fright in the first film, Rosita the pig (Reese Witherspoon) and Johnny (Taron Egerton), the gorilla with a golden voice, is getting bad reviews. A talent scout walks out, and worse, tells Buster the cast is simply not good enough to be on stage.
The ever-optimistic koala shakes off the scout’s negativity and sets his eyes on a bigger prize, mounting a show with media mogul Jimmy Crystal (Bobby Cannavale) in the country’s most neon lit town, Redshore City.
The pitch to Crystal is ambitious. Gunter the dancing pig (Nick Kroll) suggests staging “Out of This World,” a sci-fi musical starring reclusive rock star Clay Calloway (Bono). Calloway is an aged lion and legend who hasn’t been seen in public since his wife passed away fifteen years ago.
Crystal agrees to do the show on one condition. Clay Calloway must come out of retirement and appear on stage.
That’s what happens, but the story doesn’t matter. You won’t care about it, and it seems like director Garth Jennings doesn’t either. He treats the story as simply the device to get him from song to song in this jam-packed jukebox musical. It’s a blur of bright colors, characters and visual gags. The animation is sophisticated, but Jennings’ treatment of it isn’t. His insistence in keeping up a galloping pace between tunes means the movie feels overstuffed.
What’s lacking is character development and dramatic plot arcs. The movie aims to be a crowd pleaser, and, to be fair, the climax works well, but it all could have been more effective if the stakes were higher, for the characters and the audience.
“Sing 2” is harmless fun, but it feels more like a K-Tel record with pictures than a movie.