U – 93mins – 2016 – 3D
HAPPY, HAPPY, TOY JOY
Those beady-eyed, multi-coloured, Mr. Whippy-haired dolls from your youth (provided you were young in the 90s!) sing, dance and scrapbook their way to the big screen in this nauseatingly bright, bubbly and emotive celebration of all things HAPPY from Dreamworks Animation, Shrek Forever After director Mike Mitchell and co-director Walt Dohrn (a fellow Shrek franchise alum).
Two decades after her father, King Peppy (Jeffrey Bad Bromance Tambor), led the perpetually optimistic tree-dwellers in a daring escape from their dour and wretched troll-gulping adversaries, the Bergen, hug loving Princess Poppy (Anna Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates Kendrick) must team up with glum and grumpy grey troll Branch (Justin “Can’t Stop The Feeling” Timberlake) to rescue their kidnapped friends. Snatched by the exiled Bergen chef (Christine Baranski), things aren’t looking rosy for the Trolls – she plans to feed them to crown prince Gristle Jr. (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) to regain her foothold in Bergentown.
I can forgive Trolls its over-simplified message of love over conflict, its incessant hyperactivity and its overtly childish flourishes (they poop cupcakes and parp glitter for gawd’s sake!) – one glance at the kaleidoscopic poster and you know what exactly to expect from this garish musical fantasy. However, whereas we have been spoilt with Pixar (Finding Dory), Laika (Kubo and the Two Strings) and Blue Sky (Ice Age 5: Collision Course) balancing adolescent adventure with a healthy dose of parent-pleasing humour, Trolls grants its post-pubescent punters nothing to latch on to save one hugely inappropriate piece of wordplay (“I had a sarcasm once”).
Furthermore, and I fully appreciate this may simply be me looking to nit-pick at minor flaws, the bumbling Bergen are introduced as being completely tuneless, unable to hold a note or dance a step, yet twice before their climactic epiphany we see them indulge in first a mass rendition of the Gorillaz and later scullery maid Bridget (Zooey Deschanel) laments her unreciprocated love with some Lionel Richie before her and Gristle groove together at the roller rink! Now, I appreciate that it’s hard to go too long without a tune in a musical, but it seems somewhat inconsistent when the species appear to be going against their nature for the sake of a set piece.
CR@B’s Claw Score: