Estimated read time: 5-6 minutes
THE STAGE — If you're headed to the theater this holiday weekend with your family, my guess is you're headed to "Spider-Man: No Way Home," which would not be a bad use of your time. But if you don't want to see it for the third time or just want something a little less superhero, then you have another option in the animated sequel "Sing 2."
The family film opens the Wednesday before Christmas and is hoping to earn your holiday bonus.
The movie is the follow-up to the 2016 film "Sing." The original film boasted an all-star cast with Reese Witherspoon, Matthew McConaughey, Taron Egerton, Scarlett Johansson and Tori Kelly, to name a few. All of these names are headed back for the sequel, with the addition of a few more like Bobby Cannavale, Chelsea Peretti, Letitia Wright, Pharrell Williams and U2 frontman Bono.
There is a huge cast of stars from movies and music, but is that enough to make for a good movie?
"Sing 2" isn't at the level of some of the best animated films out there, but it is a lot of fun and it's almost impossible to not smile at the absurdity on screen or tap your foot to the soundtrack.
Here are a few reasons I think "Sing 2" is a great option for a family trip to the theater over the holidays:
Just like its predecessor, "Sing 2" is all about the music. This film is a musical when you break it down, but it's a musical with a twist. The movie doesn't include original songs, but rather takes familiar favorites and some current chart-toppers and weaves them naturally into the story.
You get Taron Egerton's Johnny and Tori Kelly's Meena giving us a great rendition of Shawn Mendes's "There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back," then we're treated to a well-placed and well-performed version of Coldplay's "A Sky Full of Stars." The music is familiar but takes on a new meaning in the context of the film and its story, and it's just as infectious and fun as we remember.
The most powerful songs, however, are when we start getting some of U2's greatest hits like "Where the Streets Have No Name" and "Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of." Those songs are so recognizable. But if you're anything like me it's been a while since you've even thought about them, let alone listened to them.
As we walked out of the theater, I realized I have yet to introduce my kids to one of the most popular bands of all time and there are some great songs I've waited much too long to listen to again.
There are some family movies that are clearly made for the kids, and then there are those that appeal to the parents but may leave the kids a bit bored. I felt "Sing 2" found that line right in the middle and toed it wisely.
It's goofy and silly, but the jokes land for kids of all ages — and that includes you, mom and dad. Writer and director Garth Jennings isn't breaking new ground with his story, but he does know how to keep an audience of all ages entertained and how to get a laugh out of us, whether it's with a sight gag or a well-laced punchline.
I wasn't laughing nonstop, but there were a few moments that got me laughing out loud and one, in particular, that had my wife in tears. I also appreciated that Jennings didn't take the easy way out and try to make parents laugh with an inappropriate joke that would go over the kid's heads. Instead, he just found what was funny for all ages and made it land, with the help of a talented cast.
It's formulaic, but it works
There aren't many surprises in "Sing 2," and from the get-go you have a pretty good idea where we're headed, but I was OK with that. I wasn't expecting a groundbreaking film that would give me a cinematic experience I've never encountered. All I wanted was a fun movie I could enjoy with my kids and we'd all be entertained by for a couple of hours, and that's exactly what we got.
The movie is full of familiar storylines and plot twists, but it's also full of fun moments, great messages and likable characters. Sometimes that's all you really need in a family film.
Should I go see it?
If you're looking for a fun trip to the theater with your family, "Sing 2" is a great distraction. It may be lost on some teenagers and their attention spans, but for the younger kids and their parents, it's a great compromise.
The movie is funny, bright, hopeful and a delight for the eyes and the ears. My kids were singing songs and quoting lines the whole way home and into the days following. They keep asking when we can go see it again.
"Sing 2" is rated PG for rude material and mild peril/violence.