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Sing - Review

Sing

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

GIVEN the enduring popularity of reality TV shows such as The X Factor and American Idol it was only a matter of time before someone seized upon the idea of building a film around that conceit.

Yet as hideous as that idea sounds, new animated family film Sing actually hits all the right notes.

A new work from the studio behind Minions (Illumination), the film is as funny as it is emotionally compelling, as well as populated by a top-notch vocal cast.

The story focuses on luckless koala bear Buster Moon (voiced by Matthew McConaughey), a theatre impresario facing the loss of his dream theatre, who hits upon the idea of staging a singing competition in a bid to wipe out of all his debt.

Initially offering $1,000, the show soon becomes the hottest talent contest in town following an administrative typo (that adds a few zeroes to the prize money), with a host of aspiring singers (all animals) vying for the prize that could also transform their lives.

These include a gorilla (Taron Egerton) desperate to escape his family of criminals, a Rat Pack-like mouse (Seth MacFarlane) with an over-sized ego, an elephant (Tori Kelly) with a big voice but crippling stage fright, a mother pig (Reese Witherspoon) desperate to break away from her under-appreciated day-to-day routine of suburban housewife, and a rocker porcupine (Scarlett Johansson) who is being held back by her domineering partner.

If the idea behind Sing smacks of pandering to popular trends, then the execution is what makes it so special. The film is a blast, making a mockery of an apparently tired idea by serving up something that kids of all ages can enjoy.

The visual gags are great, the songs sometimes inspired – and that’s despite sometimes going for the obvious pop culture choices – Taylor Swift, Kanye West, Katy Perry et al – and the characters impossible to dislike.

Indeed, a key component to Sing‘s winning charm is the way in which every character somehow resonates, even though – at first glance – there seems to be far too many of them.

McConaughey’s Buster Moon is a wildly endearing central character, whose repeated attempts to escape from rock bottom only ever seem to make him plummet lower, while the likes of Kelly, MacFarlane and Witherspoon also touch the heart in some way.

Egerton, meanwhile, invests tremendous heart and soul into his gorilla (his belated Elton John number one of a couple of potentially tear-jerking bittersweet moments), while John C Reilly impresses as one of Moon’s long-suffering friends.

And while’s it’s true that some (if not most) of the stories are hopelessly contrived, they’re played out so well that you’ll be having too much of a good time to care – especially given the laugh out loud nature of some of the gags and sight jokes (a car wash sequence is particularly inspired).

Hence, while Sing certainly borrows from plenty of elements – everything from The Muppet Show to Glee via Zootropolis is in there – it still feels fresh and uplifting. It’s a feel-good extravaganza that will leave you singing its praises to anyone willing to listen.

Certificate: U
Running time: 1hr 50mins
UK Release Date: January 27, 2017