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The City Journals

Dan's Review: "Sing" a fun, but watered-down karaoke experience

Dec 21, 2016 03:45PM ● By Dan Metcalf

Sing (Universal/Illumination)

Rated PG for some rude humor and mild peril.

Starring (voices of) Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Tori Kelly, Taron Egerton, Nick Kroll, Nick Offerman, Garth Jennings, Peter Serafinowicz, Beck Bennett, Leslie Jones, Jay Pharoah, Jennifer Saunders, Jennifer Hudson, Rhea Perlman, Laraine Newman, Bill Farmer, Adam Buxton, Brad Morris.

Written and Directed by Garth Jennings.



What if they did an “American Idol” or “The Voice” as an animated feature using various animal species as characters? That’s Sing in a nutshell, a computer animated film about a group of unknowns hoping to make it big onstage in a singing competition. Sing cones to theaters from Illumination, the same studio behind the Despicable Me/Minions franchise.

Matthew McConaughey voices  koala bear Buster Moon, the destitute theater owner who stages the competition in a last-ditch effort to save the old building. Through a printing error, Hundreds of hopefuls from all over the city flock to the theater in hopes of winning $100,000 (supposedly $1,000). Among the selected finalists are a pig (and housewife with 15 piglets) named Rosita (Reese Witherspoon), Johnny, a gorilla and son of a crime gang leader (Taron Egerton), a crooning ,wisecracking mouse named Mike (Seth McFarlane), a rocker/porcupine named Ash (Scarlett Johansson) and an elephant with a bad case of stage fright named Meena (Tori Kelley).  Also included in the final contestants is Gunter (Nick Kroll), another pig with a passion for dance.

As the contestants prepare for the big show, the bank moves in to repossess Buster’s theater, while family struggles threaten their chances.

Sing is less of a movie and more of a fun karaoke experience involving cute, likeable animals paired with talented actors voicing them.  The musical performances are noteworthy, since you may not have known folks like Taron Egerton and Scarlett Johansson could sing so well. While the vocals may be a bit of surprise, the story is conspicuously predictable, right down to the “show must go on” clichéd finale.  Also, if Sing seems a lot like Zootopia, well, that’s because it is - right down to a similar message about overcoming differences among species.

Your kids might enjoy Sing as a non-threatening Saturday afternoon matinee, but most adults would do well to wait for the video release. 

Sing Trailer