MOVIE REVIEW: Cheep and cheerful romp is just for kids
THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE 2
Director: Thurop Van Orman
Starring: Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride
Running time: 97 minutes
Verdict: A kids flick, and proud of it!
The Angry Birds' world is small, self-absorbed and emotionally unsophisticated - a bit like that of its target demographic
But its misfit protagonists - Red (Jason Sudeikis), Chuck (Josh Gad) and Bomb (Danny McBride) - work the crowd with every pratfall and fart joke they've got.
And debut director Thurop Van Orman masters the franchise's absurd slingshot device with enough skill and dexterity to hit the vast majority of his comedic targets.
What The Angry Birds Movie 2 lacks in finesse - who would have thought the film adaptation of a video game distraction would be popular enough to spawn its own sequel? - it makes up for with colour and velocity.
Adding some necessary relief to the blokey trio's emotionally arrested antics are two new female characters.
Silver (Rachel Bloom) - sister to the hyperactive Chuck and a potential love interest for Red - is an underappreciated science geek and undiscovered inventor.
Smart, plucky, and wise beyond her years, she's an appealing foil for the film's irascible lead - although one might well quibble with the way she enables his hero complex, thus perpetuating gender stereotypes for young tots.
Silver is much quicker and cleverer than Red, but she continually defers to his (misguided) judgment because she recognises the insecurity that lies beneath that bluster and bravado.
Rather than confront Red about his behaviour, she waits for him to appreciate the error of his ways (surreptitiously fixing the problems he has created in the interim.)
The film's villainess, Zeta (Leslie Jones) is also an old-school broad - having been jilted at the altar, the embittered eagle launches a barrage of weaponised ice balls on her neighbours in a bid to escape what has become an icy exile. The birds and their sworn enemies the green pigs, led by the bumptious King Leonard (Bill Hader), form an uneasy alliance in order to vanquish their common foe.
Running some Looney Tunes-style comic interference are three fluffy hatchlings who dial up the aw-shucks factor to distortion level. While re-enacting the birds-vs-pigs battle from the first film, Zoe (Brooklynn Prince) accidentally casts her three unhatched brothers and sisters adrift.
And so begins a preposterous parallel journey in which the helium-voice youngsters set off, on their own, to rescue the wayward eggs. The very best family movies - Babe, Toy Story, Wall. E - resonate with multiple generations. There aren't any extra layers to Angry Birds 2, which has no ambitions beyond being a fun and fast-paced kids flick.
But it directly engages its target audience on issues that are important to them, such as socialisation and the mastering of one's emotions, during the course of an immersive action adventure. Breezy, undemanding entertainment.
Opens September 12.