Earlier this year, I fawned over Illumination Entertainment's The Secret Life of Pets, an endearing roller coaster ride of an animated feature that was exquisitely drawn, enthusiastically performed and sported one hell of an Alexandre Desplat original score to boot.
The studio's latest effort, I'm afraid, is lacking in all areas where Pets excelled, a haphazard, pedestrian film that rarely even stimulates a smile.
Writer-director Garth Jennings' Sing starts off on a decent-enough note, as we see the theater-owning koala bear Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) come up with an idea to save his failing, once-extravagant venue - a singing competition. The event draws far more attention than anticipated when Moon's bumbling secretary misprints the contest as having a grand prize 100 times the actual amount. This draws in a host of characters, few terribly interesting or funny, voiced by the likes of Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, Seth MacFarlane and Nick Kroll, who belt out new and old Billboard hits.
Each A-lister has their own little subplot but there's not much to write home about. Only MacFarlane, as an arrogant mouse who croons like Sinatra, interjects some life into the proceedings. Perhaps superfans of American Idol and/or The Voice (or - sigh - the Pitch Perfect films) will get a kick out of the musical performances here but I was left mostly unmoved. And where Pets crafted a breathtaking Manhattan setting that really popped off the screen, Sing feels curiously claustrophobic and isn't all that visually striking.
Sing is animated cinema for only the most undemanding of moviegoers.