Saturday, December 31, 2016

"Trolls" Offers a Zany and Colorful Sugar Fix

Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake bring energy to Trolls.
Trolls was my daughter Cassie's first movie-going experience, so I'll cop to being completely swayed by her reaction. We cuddled the whole time, and she loved it. Thus, I loved it.

But the reality is that this isn't a very good movie. Trolls is entirely targeted at children, and so it doesn't have the strongest sense of plotting, character development or humor. Sure, it's cute, colorful and catchy, but it's mostly a formulaic, derivative mishmash of energized cover songs and zany visualizations in which characters fart glitter and poop cupcakes.

Beyond that though, there is, I think, a troublesome message in here about force-fed happiness and conformity, one that is directly opposed to the more nuanced takes in superior works like Inside Out and The Lego Movie (reviewed here). I'm not trying to be unfair. I like that the film ably gets the point across that it's important to look inward for happiness, and I challenge anyone who watches this thing not to be a little moved by the True Colors musical number. But I can't deny there's a disconnect here.

This is the high fructose corn syrup of the movie world. As with the real thing, it's a good idea not to overindulge on this type of treat, but it still offers a wallop of gratification for those looking for a sugar fix.C+