Sing review: a pitch-perfect, star-studded, snark-free, family-friendly singathon

An all-star cast, including Scarlett Johansson and Matthew McConaughey, belt out the hits and turn on the cutesy charm in this thoroughly entertaining animated musical

“Sing” breezes through jokes and tunes and cuteness like those things were going out of style

Film Title: SING

Director: Garth Jennings

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton, Tori Kelly

Genre: Animation

Running Time: 110 min

Thu, Jan 26, 2017, 13:30

   

A poptastic jukebox cartoon musical performed by adorable anthropomorphic animals and directed by Garth Jennings (the half of Hammer & Tongs who brought you The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Son of Rambow? What’s not to like?

Sing is the latest computer-animated venture from Illumination Entertainment, the imprint behind the Despicable Me sequence and The Secret Life of Pets. As with those crowdpleasers, the new film breezes through jokes and tunes and cuteness like those things were going out of style. The X-Factor style format makes for easy introductions and sight-gags.

Say hello to Rosita (Reese Witherspoon), the busy mom-of-25 piglets with an overworked and oblivious husband; to Mike (Seth MacFarlane), a rat-pack style crooning rat with an ego that is many, many times bigger than he is; to Ash (Scarlett Johansson), a punk porcupine saddled with a rock-splaining boyfriend; to Meena (Tori Kelly), the teenage elephant who is far too shy to sing in public; and to Johnny (Taron Egerton), a soulful young Cockney gorilla with a bank-robber dad (Peter Serafinowicz).  

These appealing characters are drafted in to a talent show by twinkling impresario Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey), a koala with a beautiful, crumbling old theatre and a heap of bills. Unhappily, even with the assistance of Miss Crawly – Buster’s trusty elderly iguana secretary (voiced by the director) – and his dude-alike best friend (John C Reilly), the contest brings the house down. And not in the way that Buster intended.  

Sing wisely eschews snark and scatology for fun and warmth. Even in the midst of a large ensemble, you’ll feel Rosita’s desire to be noticed and Miss Crawly’s pain on learning that she has made a mistake. You’ll want Johnny to do the right thing. There are many studio films with far fewer players that can only dream about that kind of believable characterisation.

It helps that unlike the TV talent shows that inspired it, Sing hangs on to the popular, gifted contestants instead of sticking with the hot, marketable ones.