After 15 post-Shrek years—since CGI feature animation was offered a vision of the most obvious possible path towards a license to print money—we now have this dispiriting nonsense based on the popular smartphone game. Set on an island populated by flightless birds, it pits short-fused Red (Jason Sudeikis) and his pals (Josh Gad and Danny McBride) against a group of pigs (led by Bill Hader) who show up with possibly nefarious motives. A bunch of frantic action ultimately ensues, in order to provide all of the touchstones that players of the game would recognize, all built around that most over-used of animated-feature plots, the “Rudolph”: Ostracized outsider goes on a quest and finds that his defining trait can help save the day. And of course it’s seasoned with pop-culture gags—the pigs have a poster from the musical Ham-ilton; pause to allow your knees to recover from the slapping—rather than humor built from character, because that would require effort. Oh, and it ends with a musical production number, just in case you were worried you might miss anything that wasn’t pre-ordained from the start of this century.
Director: Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly
Producer: John Cohen, Catherine Winder, Mikael Hed and David Maisel
Cast: Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Bill Hader, Peter Dinklage, Sean Penn, Keegan-Michael Key, Kate McKinnon, Tony Hale, Hannibal Buress, Ike Barinholtz, Tituss Burgess, Ian Hecox, Anthony Padilla, Jillian Bell, Billy Eichner, Danielle Brooks, Blake Shelton, Charli XCX, Romeo Santos and Cristela Alonzo