Movie Review: "Sing"

Reviewed by John Mulderig

Catholic News Service

12/22/2016

This is a publicity image from the animated movie "Sing." The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children. (CNS photo/Universal)

NEW YORK (CNS) -- "Sing" (Universal) is a generally amiable but flawed musical cartoon, populated mostly by animals. While the essential values of this show-biz fable are respectable enough, writer-director Garth Jennings incorporates elements into his film that make it unsuitable for youngsters.

With the theater he owns failing financially, koala bear Buster Moon (voice of Matthew McConaughey) aims to revive his business by staging a singing contest. After some predictably humorous tryouts, a quintet of finalists emerges.

Mike (voice of Seth MacFarlane) is a conceited mouse who croons in a Sinatra-like style. Gifted teenage elephant Meena (voiced by Tori Kelly) suffers from stage fright.

Harried sow housewife Rosita (voice of Reese Witherspoon) has to balance her vocal ambitions against the needs of her overworked husband, Norman (voice of Nick Offerman), and their litter of 25 kids. Johnny (voice of Taron Egerton) is a Cockney gorilla gangster's son who would rather belt out Elton John tunes than help his dad (voice of Peter Serafinowicz) steal.

And then there's Ash (voiced by Scarlett Johansson), a porcupine punk rocker coping with the selfishness of her live-in boyfriend, Lance (voice of Beck Bennett).

Friendship and loyalty are triumphant amid plot complications that include a typo escalating the winner's prize a hundredfold. But Jennings -- who also provides the voice of Miss Crawly, the good-hearted but dimwitted lizard secretary responsible for that error -- not only includes a living arrangement that's out of bounds for a kids' movie, he also presents us with a semi-cross-dressing character.

Chosen by Buster to be Rosita's stage partner, German-accented pig Gunter (voice of Nick Kroll) exudes swishy enthusiasm and favors glitzy leotards. By contrast with emotionally neglectful Norman and narcissistic Lance, who together represent a rather negative image of masculinity, Gunter is grouped with most of the female figures on the credit side of the ledger.

Grown viewers will obviously be well equipped to take such material in stride. And "Sing" is also probably acceptable for mature teens. But the most impressionable viewers, presumably a prime target demographic for the movie, will find it less than harmonious.

The film contains cohabitation, some scatological humor and scenes of peril. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.

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Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.

List of current CNS movie classification and MPPA Ratings:

CNS: L MPAA: R Allied
CNS: A-III MPAA: PG-13 Almost Christmas
CNS: A-III MPAA: PG-13 Arrival
CNS: O MPAA: PG-13 Assassin's Creed
CNS: O MPAA: R Bad Santa 2
CNS: A-II MPAA: PG Believe
CNS: A-III MPAA: R Blair Witch
CNS: O MPAA: R Bleed for This
CNS: A-III MPAA: PG-13 Boo! A Madea Halloween
CNS: L MPAA: R Bridget Jones's Baby
CNS: A-III MPAA: PG-13 Collateral Beauty
CNS: A-III MPAA: PG-13 Deepwater Horizon
CNS: A-III MPAA: PG-13 Denial
CNS: A-III MPAA: PG-13 Doctor Strange
CNS: A-II MPAA: PG-13 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
CNS: L MPAA: R Hacksaw Ridge
CNS: A-III MPAA: PG-13 Incarnate
CNS: A-III MPAA: PG-13 Inferno
CNS: A-III MPAA: PG-13 Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
CNS: A-III MPAA: R Jackie
CNS: A-III MPAA: PG-13 Keeping Up With the Joneses
CNS: A-III MPAA: R Kevin Hart: What Now?
CNS: A-II MPAA: PG-13 Loving
CNS: A-III MPAA: PG-13 Masterminds
CNS: A-III MPAA: PG-13 Max Steel
CNS: A-III MPAA: PG Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life
CNS: A-II MPAA: PG-13 Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
CNS: A-III MPAA: R Miss Sloane
CNS: A-II MPAA: PG Moana
CNS: O MPAA: R Office Christmas Party
CNS: A-III MPAA: PG-13 Ouija: Origin of Evil
CNS: A-III MPAA: PG-13 Passengers
CNS: A-II MPAA: PG Queen of Katwe
CNS: A-II MPAA: PG-13 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
CNS: L MPAA: PG-13 Rules Don't Apply
CNS: A-III MPAA: PG-13 Shut In
CNS: A-III MPAA: PG Sing
CNS: A-III MPAA: R Snowden
CNS: A-II MPAA: PG Storks
CNS: O MPAA: R The Accountant
CNS: A-III MPAA: R The Birth of a Nation
CNS: A-III MPAA: PG-13 The Bounce Back
CNS: O MPAA: R The Edge of Seventeen
CNS: O MPAA: R The Girl on the Train
CNS: A-III MPAA: PG-13 The Magnificent Seven
CNS: A-II MPAA: PG Trolls
CNS: A-III MPAA: PG-13 Voiceless

NEW YORK (CNS) -- "Sing" (Universal) is a generally amiable but flawed musical cartoon, populated mostly by animals. While the essential values of this show-biz fable are respectable enough, writer-director Garth Jennings incorporates elements into his film that make it unsuitable for youngsters.

Published