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Vocal characters compete in so-so animated ‘Sing’

The animated cast from Illumination’s “Sing.” It opens Friday nationwide. The characters compete in a major singing contest.
The animated cast from Illumination’s “Sing.” It opens Friday nationwide. The characters compete in a major singing contest. Illumination

What It’s About: More of a karaoke evening than an actual movie, “Sing” from Illumination is a mildly amusing musical in a year of far superior animated efforts from Disney, Laika and Pixar.

A story about saving a historic theater from creditors turns into a major singing competition. But the contest is immaterial to the struggles these aspiring artists face.

The characters are desperate to win, and we learn what personal situations they must overcome.

And there are numerous characters hoping to grasp the big brass ring — in fact, too many. The subplots get to be a bit much in a kid’s story, and hard to keep straight.

Performances: There’s the perky pig wife and mother (Reese Witherspoon), shy elephant (Tori Kelly), crooning mob mouse (Seth McFarlane), hard-rocking porcupine (Scarlett Johansson), and legendary star diva (Jennifer Hudson).

Taron Edgerton is a gorilla who doesn’t want to join the robbers in the family business.

The ringleader is Matthew McConaughey as the slick promoter Buster Moon.

Everyone’s fine and dandy — it’s just a lot of characters to keep track of, and invest in, as well-drawn and captivating that they are.

What Works: The music is catchy, of course, and delivered earnestly. But a film should be more than an entertaining soundtrack of cover songs.

What Doesn’t Work: The story is rather stale. Unlike “Zootopia,” “Kubo and the Two String,” or “Moana,” it’s nothing we haven’t seen before.

“Sing”

Stars: 2 out of 4

Director: Christophe Lourdelet and Garth Jennings

Starring: (Voices) Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, Seth McFarlane, Jennifer Hudson, Taron Egerton and Tori Kelly.

Rated: PG for some rude humor and peril

Length: 1:48

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