Sing (2016)

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, Taron Egerton, Tori Kelly, Jennifer Saunders, John C Reilly, Nick Kroll

Directed by: Christophe Lourdelet, Garth Jennings

Rating: 1 2 3 and a half

It's official: my niece is no longer afraid of the cinema. (I know!!! Are we really related?) So no more Trainspotting for me; instead expect a slew of reviews of animated movies with U certificates.

But if they're all as adorable as Sing, I won't complain. Much.

Johnny the gorilla, voiced by Taron Egerton

Matthew McConaughey voices Buster Moon, a feisty koala impresario slowly running a theatre into the ground in a colourful San Francisco-like town peopled entirely by anthropomorphic animals who walk on their hind legs, wear clothes and sport human-looking dentures and opposable thumbs. And sing. Beautifully. Which, as anyone who's ever watched early episodes of a talent show programme knows, is very unrealistic.

To tap into this tuneful market and reverse the fortunes of his ailing business, Buster hits on the idea of putting on an X Factor-style talent contest. Because all the animals in the town have awesome voices, the audition sequences are far less jaw-droppingly, face-palmingly bizarre than their human equivalents, but highly entertaining all the same.

Speedily, the cast is whittled down to a manageable few – a cockney, piano-playing gorilla (Taron Egerton) keen to warble his way from a life of crime, a winsome mother pig (Reece Witherspoon) who dreams of escaping the daily drudgery of bringing up a large family, a stroppy teenage porcupine (Scarlett Johansson) who wants to play her own music without selling out to the Man, a wise-cracking mouse (Seth McFarlane) who wants to be Frank Sinatra, and an elephant (Tori Kelly) who lives to sing but is cripplingly shy.

Reese Witherspoon voices Rosita in Sing

So basically your typical X Factor line up, with fur and spines to go alongside the issues and attitudes.

As you'd expect from the team who brought us the Minions, the characters are a delight, my personal favourite being Miss Crawley (voiced by writer and director Garth Jennings), Buster's decrepit, one-eyed, painfully loyal, lipsticked lizard secretary. And of course, the music is great fun. It's a bunch of animals performing pop hits – what's not to like?

Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) and Miss Crawley (Garth Jennings) in Sing

Like La La Land, Sing advocates following your dreams. But it also implies that if you have the love and support of friends and family, you're half way there. Yes, it's as slight and throwaway as a one hit wonder's best of album. But it's also full of heart, even moving in places, and splendidly uplifting. Sing gets three yesses from me.

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