INTENTLY drawing on their construction paper the students were following the teacher’s assignment to draw a picture of their favorite animal. Each child had their own box of crayons; some had the bigger sized containers with more colors. The teacher was walking around the classroom, checking up on each student’s artwork. She would offer words of encouragement or ask a question or two about the animal. Walking up from behind she looked over the shoulder of a boy who was carefully working on something the teacher could not figure out. There was nothing on the paper that resembled an animal. The teacher asked the student what he was drawing and he gladly explained the scene he created on his paper. What he had drawn was an elaborate jungle scene, using a variety of brightly colored crayons. Off to the side barely visible were 2 eyes staring out; the boy said it was a tiger. The teacher told him that was not the assignment. TECHNICALLY the assignment was to draw your favorite animal; the student did just that, except had the animal hidden in the jungle. One could say the boy was very creative and in fact, encourage the continued use of his imagination. However the teacher did not see it that way. She liked everyone to conform to the same thing. To look at something a different way was not something the teacher was comfortable with evidently. Assignments were supposed to be followed according to what the teacher believed was the “right” way; in other words, the way she thought things were supposed to be done. Someone with imagination would not easily conform to restrictions; they would as they say, “think outside of the box.” Personally I feel it is always an advantage to have people around who see things differently than you do. This animated, adventure comedy knows what I am talking about. EVERYONE living in Textopolis has one facial feature that they hope gets picked by the phone’s user. Considered an anomaly was Gene, voiced by T.J. Miller (Deadpool, Office Christmas Party), who had more than one facial feature. With a cast that included James Corden (Into the Woods, The History Boys) as Hi-5, Anna Faris (The House Bunny, Mom-TV) as Jailbreak, Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids, Sisters) as Smiler and Steven Wright (Reservoir Dogs, Son of the Mask) as Mel Meh; I thought the concept for the story was admirable regarding differences between people. From that idea to the big screen something got lost in translation because the script was bland and uninteresting. I could not get over how you make a film with colorful emojis and then do not offer them some excitement and fun. Overall there were no laughs or emotions to this picture. Not one child in the audience I was sitting with expressed any happiness towards a scene. At least the actors’ voices were fun to listen to, especially from James and Maya. Sadly out of all the emojis shown in the movie, the one that best describes my feelings about this film is “meh.” There was an extra scene in the middle of the credits.
1 ¾ stars
My credentials to review this movie go back to my childhood. The pretzel rods I would snack on were really rocket ships, which would patrol around me as I was watching television. There was a particular butter cookie, shaped like the head of a daisy with a hole in the middle, that emitted a force field when I wore them as rings on my fingers. I not only enjoyed eating my food but playing with it too. There was hardly a food that could not become something to play with, simply by using my imagination. In this animated sequel the creative ways used to bring food items to life was fun and enjoyable to watch. I did not see the first film so I cannot make a comparison between the two. Bill Hader (Paul, Superbad) voiced young inventor Flint Lockwood. When invited to join some of the best scientists in the world at the Live Corp Company, Flint jumped at the chance to meet his idol Chester V, voiced by Will Forte (MacGruber, The Watch). Though the company’s mission was to create inventions that would better mankind, Flint’s past would play an important part in the company’s future. I thought the casting of voices such as Terry Crews (Bridesmaids, The Expendables franchise) as Earl Devereaux, Anna Faris (The House Bunny, The Dictator) as Sam Sparks and James Caan (Misery, Elf) as Tim Lockwood was the best part of the predictable story. The humor was geared towards young children leaving me a bit bored. Once in a while there was a joke that I acknowledged as being clever but nothing that was worth a chuckle. I got a kick out of the animation because it reminded me of the animated movies I saw as a kid. At one point I took a look around the theater and noticed the kids were interested in the movie while the adults appeared to fidget in their seats. This family comedy did not have the style and depth of some of the other film studios’ animated features. If you have a young child who wants to see this film they will probably enjoy it. If you go, stay through the first set of credits. As for myself, I left the theater with a strong desire to grab a bite to eat.
Here was a movie that did not let anyone or anything get by unscathed. American culture, ethnic and religious groups were among a plethora of other groups that got skewered in this latest creation of Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat, Hugo). Playing dictator Haffaz Aladeen of the oil rich African country Wadiya, his character was infused with stereotypical traits that have been portrayed in the news and other films. This comedy was stocked with politically incorrect, crude and offensive jokes. I felt guilty when I would laugh at some of them, though not all funny bits worked well. The thin plot had Aladeen coming to New York to speak before the United Nations. My guess on why the story was choppy would be the rewrites needed to stay relevant with actual world events. Parts of the story felt odd to me; for example, the relationship that took place between Sacha’s character and Anna Faris’ (Lost in Translation, The House Bunny) character Zoey. Realistically, the main purpose of the movie was to make the viewer laugh, which it was certainly doing with the audience around me. Just know going in that you will be bombarded nonstop with any and everything imaginable to try and make the scenes funny.