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While Sing may not be a classic in the making, it still makes for a good way to spend almost 2 hours.
Review (with Spoilers)
Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) | Ms. Crawly (Garth Jennings) | Johnny (Taron Egerton) | Mike (Seth MacFarlane) | Meena (Tori Kelly) | Meena’s Grandpa (Jay Pharoah) | Rosita (Reese Witherspoon)
Since he was a kid Buster Moon has loved the theater. Not in terms of desiring to be a performer but more so he wanted to own one, create production, and he eventually got to do that. Problem is, he sucks at it. However, undeterred, he decides to have a singing competition. Not as a Muppet style last resort to gain funds, but as a business as usual type of thing. Unfortunately, though, his assistant Ms. Crawly makes posters not offering $1,000 but $100,000. Which brings the talent, but also brings a swath of issues for two of them really need that money.
There is a little something for everyone here. Naturally, pop hits dominate, but for those who like something old school Mike mostly does Jazz with his saxophone or Rat Pack era songs like “My Way.” Also, there is scattered rock or pop/rock music here and there. The most notable song choice would be Johnny singing “I’m Still Standing” by Elton John.
Meena and Johnny
Meena and Johnny are really the only two characters who are given real emotional grounding so their highs and lows matter to you. Meena seems to not have a father and is being raised by her mother’s family, she is shy to the point of anxiety attacks and seems to be the only introvert in an extroverted family. One which fully supports her singing, but with her grandfather being so aggressive about her pursuing her talent, you can see he only makes things worse.
Then with Johnny, he is another case of a missing parent. In his case, it is his mom but with his dad around, and his dad’s criminal gang being sort of parental units, you see he is making it. Problem is, his dad has a vision and plans for Johnny which he doesn’t necessarily want. So when he goes against the grain, as seen in the trailer, and gets disowned, it leaves him with no one really. His father’s friends came with his dad and without him, we watch a heartbroken Johnny try to just figure out what life can be like without his dad.
Too Many Characters & Not Enough Development
In order to get funding, the production companies seemed to have gotten as many name recognizable talent they could, and from there they wrote enough of a story to keep the big names happy. Not the type of story which could give depth to each character, but with it being a kid’s movie, you can assume the general consensus was there is no need to get that deep. Hence why we don’t explore the stress Rosita has from taking care of 25 piglets nor dealing with a unfulfilling marriage. Hence why Buster, despite being the lead, never becomes someone who can get a real emotional response out of you. For nevermind, he is a bit of a selfish butthead for ripping off his stage hands and then taking advantage of Meena for free labor, but the one thing which could redeem him is that he is trying to make his dad’s hard work pay off. The problem is with this, it more told to us than shown. Even then, it isn’t like we see his dad struggle or even Buster struggle alongside him. Heck, even the one person who could have given his story some oomph, Ms. Crawley, she is purely a comedic relief. There is no development of their relationship so we can understand why she has stuck with him nor were we given an understanding why he hired her and what she means to him. I mean, she doesn’t even act as a source to make Buster’s dad more than just a picture trotted around to remind us how bad Buster feels about possibly losing the theater.
Overall: Mixed (Home Viewing)
Did I cry a little due to Meena and Johnny? Absolutely I did. However, I can’t say if I didn’t get to see this for free, at a screening, that I would actually pay for this. Did it have potential? Yes, it did. However, it seems like another case of having an animated movie, bloated with Hollywood stars, which is more about a money grab than creating something which has longevity.