Rated: PG for some rude humor and mild peril. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: December 21, 2016 Released by: Universal Studios, Inc.
Anthropomorphic-filled animated jukebox musical from the studio that delivered Minions and The Secret Lives of Pets looks to toe-tap its way to box-office glory this holiday season and into the new year.
Sing hardly has the depth or social commentary of Zootopia which it resembles in its humanoid animals occupying a metropolis as it works off of a "let's put on a show" premise in the vein of those Mickey Rooney/Judy Garland MGM collaborations. For our millennial times it's The Voice or American Idol in medley form, especially in its early and late stages, that amuses more than satisfies with some notable sight gags along the way.
Having a voice cast led by Matthew McConaughey as hustling koala Buster Moon staging a competition to keep a struggling live theater afloat, along with Reese Witherspoon as a harried pig with 25 piglets. Not to mention a punkish porcupine (Scarlett Johansson), a timid elephant with a powerful voice (Tori Kelly), a crooning Rat-Pack type mouse (Seth MacFarlane), and a gorilla (Taron Egerton) looking to stray away from a criminal family enterprise.
Co-director and writer Garth Jennings (Son of Rambow, The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy) offers some chuckles as Buster's gecko assistant who goofs when it comes to the prize amount. The opportunity for parents and children to smile is there while incorporating each animal's personal milieu (i.e., Johansson's Ash is a pop princess looking to move on from an imperious, arrogant beau). Especially when a snail takes its place atop a microphone.
Perhaps for some this may call to mind The Muppets or Happy Feet in its familiar, unoriginal style with maybe a more artificial look given the technology. But, Sing shines in sheer wacky comedic ways when the performances come to the fore, as when Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Sir-Mix-A lot, Stevie Wonder, and especially a recurring Golden Slumbers from The Beatles are sampled.