I’ll try to do a spoiler-free review of “Inside Out.” But likely it won’t be so fair warning.
I wanted to love it. I did. But I didn’t.
As colorful as it was, and as cool concept as it was, it was awfully two-dimensional.
The Good: The voice acting and casting was superb. Richard Kind was the stand-out for me. He had a relatively small role, but he was perfect in it. The other characters were all wonderful as well. The production values? Yeah, Pixar at their best.
The bad: Considering we spend most of the movie inside a character’s head, the movie was awfully uncomplicated and relatively consequence-free. This is part of my problem with its two-dimensionality. It gives an idealized version of how things work and then tries to pass it off as something poignant.
I really didn’t care for the fact that once Riley did *anything* against one of her building blocks, they crumbled into nothing. And yet when she redeemed herself, they returned good as brand spankin’ new. Bob Mandelo (who we sat next at the screening) mentioned that the movie was made for six year olds and so I should forgive its one-dimensionality based on that. Nope. I don’t. Pixar movies aren’t just for kids. I’d say we all know that. And the “My girlfriend lives in Canada” line? Not for kids.
The character didn’t learn a *thing* from her foray into being a bad girl (liar, cheater, etc.). She just got redemption because obviously she was a great kid all along and we are all supposed to go along with that.
And then, the movie added that ol’ chestnut, “Into each life a little rain must fall.” Yep, it did. What a pat answer. The thing that saves her? A nice, New Age philosophy. You don’t have to apologize for your transgressions (I don’t believe Riley ever did. I believe she just said she hated living where she was living). You don’t have to say you were sorry for the nasty things you said. All you have to do is say you were unhappy in your circumstances and all is forgiven. Feh
The ugly: It had the most idealized family unit I’ve ever seen portrayed. The parents were freaked out and stressed out and the dad’s big “discipline your child” moment after she did something really bad was the, “go to your room!” gambit Oh NO! Not the go to your room gambit!! Anything but that. :sigh:
And last, the movie doled out what our emotional reactions were supposed to be as specifically and purposely as the movie characters doled out Riley’s. “You will laugh here.” “You will cry here.” You can pinpoint those moments, and it makes me sad because I would have liked to see more nuance and more room for interpretation regardless of the film’s target audience.
As said, I wanted to like it. The concept rocks. The execution? Not so much.