December 22nd, 2021
MOVIE: SING 2
STARRING: MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY, REESE WITHERSPOON, SCARLET JOHANSSON, TORI KELLY, BOBBY CANNAVALE
DIRECTED BY: GARTH JENNINGS
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 1 STAR (Out of 4)
One of the small jobs of a film critic is advising parents on what movies they should bring the kids to see. Clearly we’re not doing our job with these Sing movies. Sing 2 arrives on time for Christmas, but I am still struggling to find out why parents subject their children, and themselves, to this jukebox drivel. The first installment was about Buster Moon (voiced by Matthew McConaughey), a cute cuddly koala, an entertainment manager, and owner of his own theater, attempting to save his career with a big talent show to bring audiences in. What quickly became evident was that director Garth Jennings wasn’t relying on a smart and original animated fare, but bright colored talking animals, singing tunes purchased from a top-40 catalog. Sing 2 is more of the same, with a Las Vegas-style background, and a villain to fight against, it’s still a big colossal waste of time for parents to painfully sit though. Sing 2 made me want to plug my ears and shut my eyes.
The premise takes us back to Buster’s theater, where the team of Rosita the pig (Reese Witherspoon), Gunter the German pig (Nick Kroll), Meena the elephant (Tori Kelly), Johnny the crooning gorilla (Taron Egerton), and Ash the rocking porcupine (Scarlett Johansson) have succeeded with their Alice in Wonderland themed show, and now a big talent scout is in the crowd to see if they’re good enough for a Las Vegas show. The scout is not interested, but Buster being the persistent showman he is, brings the team to the tryouts for fierce wolf- Mr. Crystal (Bobby Cannavale). They are given a chance, with the one condition that they find a way to get reclusive rock star lion Clay Calloway (Bono) out of retirement for the big event. For Buster and the gang, it will take a lot of effort, a lot of songs, and teamwork to make the show a major success.
The concept of Sing 2 seems easy enough- written and directed by Garth Jennings- but it depends on how much you can stand the barrage of pop songs. It would be one thing if the pop music was used in a unique fashion, built into the themes of the movie, or the conflicts in the moment, but with both Sing movies, there is often no rhyme or reason for why we hear Alicia Keys “Girl on Fire”, U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”, or Coldplay’s “A Sky Full of Stars”, only because the studio had the rights to the music, so they may as well have used it. Unlike live-action films such as Mama Mia! or Moulin Rouge, there’s a purpose, a spin on the popular music that makes it worth the time and the artistic creativity. If you wanted to listen to these tunes, you could just add them to your Spotify playlist.
It’s not just the pop music that also makes Sing 2 intolerable, but the plot itself often feels pedestrian, and in zero way relatable for the kids that they will attract. As the father of a three year old, I kept wondering if my son would be interested to see if this group of talking-singing animals would put together a hit show, but the process to get there is tedious in the journey. There’s also an incredibly nasty streak to egotistical bad guy Mr. Crystal, which is not funny and borderline cruel. He’s also arguably the most interesting character and yet the one we’re not supposed to root for. This is an animated movie without any true charm to grasp onto at all.
The structure of Sing 2 will wear on the audience quickly. Brief scene, pop song. Quick discussion between characters followed by pop songs. Even the transitions from one scene to the next has a pop song playing, which makes even less sense considering the Sing universe is a more robust Zootopia. I mean, what animals wrote System of A Down’s “Chop Suey!”? Sing 2 is just the wrong movie to take the kids to see this weekend. Encanto is more alive, more original, and has delightfully fresh music. With Sing 2, the kids will be bored fast and the parents will be exhausted by the movie’s egregious nearly two hour runtime. Trust me on this one, I know what I’m talking about, it’s my job, and Sing 2 is nothing to hum about.
SING 2 IS IN THEATERS WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 22ND, 2021
Written by: Leo Brady