Swan song

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Universal Studios
Illumination Entertainment-Universal Studios/Universal Pictures
Matthew McConaughey voices dapper koala Buster Moon and Scarlett Johansson is Ash, a punk-rock porcupine, in “Sing.”

Animated animal tale adds nothing new

As if the world didn’t have enough people singing and competing for stacks of cash and record deals, we now get an animated anamorphic version of this crap.

All right. That’s a little harsh. But truly, we’ve seen this story and have learned that lesson about conquering our fears and going for it.

So what more could Sing possibly bring to the table?

While there are a few cute critters and one solid laugh involving Matthew McConaughey’s koala bear character using his body as a wash rag, while his sheep of a pal (voiced by John C. Reilly) serves a dry cloth during a car wash sequence — not much.

In the latest entry from Illumination Entertainment (The Secret Life of Pets, Minions), Sing’s contrived story follows an optimistic koala bear by the name of Buster Moon (a lively McConaughey) who presides over a once-grand theater that has fallen on hard times. Hopeful but a bit sleazy, Buster gets the idea of holding a singing competition to grab the public eye and restore his fading jewel to its former glory.

In the competition, five contestants emerge: a dapper mouse (Seth MacFarlane), a divided gorilla (Taron Egerton), a timid elephant (Reese Witherspoon), an exuberant pig (Nick Kroll) and a punk-rock porcupine (Scarlett Johansson).

The primary problem with Illumination Entertainment’s films is that the studio doesn’t seem too keen on telling original stories. Instead, they preoccupy themselves with generating flashy products to attract children and dupe parents into believing they’re watching something worthwhile. However, what remains is a headache-induced trap that’ll entertain your kiddos, sure, but will simultaneously numb their appreciation for richer material.

Sing offers the occasionally fun comedic touch, likable enough characters and upbeat energy, but it isn’t the showstopping tune that’ll have you singing its praises or holding it above a straight-to-DVD movie.

PRESTON BARTA is a member of the Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association. Read his work on FreshFiction.tv. Follow him on Twitter at @PrestonBarta.




Rated PG, 108 minutes.

Opened Wednesday.

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