“Sing” Review: More Like Scream

Courtesy of Illumination Entertainment
Courtesy of Illumination Entertainment

If you like reality TV shows like The Voice or America’s Got Talent, but somehow wish they could be even more scripted, then here is a film for you.

From the studio that brought you Minions memes, comes a movie about animated animals voiced by rich celebrities competing in an amateur singing competition. Why are they animals? No real reason. Perhaps it’s to create an aura of diversity while featuring a largely white cast and making vaguely racist visual gags. Or maybe it’s just to create an impression of originality in front of a remarkably lazy premise.

Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey), a Koala, owns a theater that has been going through some hard times. So in order to rescue the theater, he organizes a singing competition. However, due to a clerical error, the grand prize is announced as $100,000, instead of $1,000. This results in a massive influx of auditioners, and massive anxiety for Moon as he struggles to find funding for the prize money as well as put on a show that will save his theatre.

But despite his reputation as a hard-working businessman that will do anything to get the job done, Moon ignores a lot of very obvious monetization opportunities. The whole audition process occurs son gratis, and then Moon immediately picks the finalists. There are no callback or elimination shows or anything to fundraise past the final and only show they are working towards. The result of this is that the pace of co-director Garth Jenning’s screenplay slows to a lull after the audition process subsides and the characters are introduced.

The major problem with Sing is that it doesn’t really succeed in its one proclaimed goal of being a “feel good” movie. Near the top of the film, Moon proclaims that when you hit rock bottom, the only way to go is up. That would be nice if it were true. After a reasonably fun first 15 minutes, the movie spends the next 80 finding ways to punish its characters. There are no victories in sight. And watching animated animals fail over and over again just isn’t that much fun. Sure, some missteps are necessary, but this felt like an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm set to a pop soundtrack.  

Much of the warm, fuzzy moments are saved for the end of the film, where you’ve already been stuck for too long to really care. After you finish figuring out who is voicing all the characters (Seth MacFarlane is doing the Frank Sinatra character, of course. And Nick Kroll is doing a Flula impression for some reason), there isn’t really much to do. Sing is not an easy movie to sit through.

There are a lot of songs in Sing, despite the fact that it’s not a musical (don’t fight me on this. It’s NOT.). There’s also some pretty captivating animation. Plus there are a bunch of talking animals, so it’s basically a guaranteed hit. But that still doesn’t make up for the fact that Sing is just completely lazy. I guess that makes sense. The type of shows this is copying are designed to be simple in concept and execution. Still, you deserve better than this.

But what do I know. I’m not a kid. My little sister is a kid though, and it just so happens that she wanted to write a review as well…

Quill’s Review

Hi!!! Since you are reading this review, I guess you want to know about the Universal Pictures masterpiece Sing! It is sure to make a 100-year-old laugh out loud! The animals (pigs, porcupine, elephant, gorilla and a mouse) sang! All of the animals were amazing! My favorite was Ash (the porcupine)!!!!!

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