It’s all in your head – ★★★½
Thank God for Inside Out. One of the most celebrated studios of the 21st century was on a distinct downward slope over the last few years, running out of ideas and their celebrated clever sense fun as they pushed out mindless sequels like Cars 2 and Monsters University with their last true knock-out arriving six years ago with Up. The studio was built on originality, so to see it making “the smart business decision” and creating unnecessary sequels to beloved properties was so disappointing. We’ve still got new Toy Story and Finding Nemo films on the way, but at least the stellar performance of Inside Out at the US box office will hopefully convince the powers that be about the need to stay original.
In Inside Out we live inside the mind of a young girl by the name of Riley. Her head is controlled by five different emotions – each voiced by a Hollywood actor – Joy (Amy Poehler), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), Fear (Bill Hader), and Sadness (Phyllis Smith). Riley’s family are upping sticks and moving from Minnesota to San Francisco. Riley is also growing up, so the one-dimensional emotions and memories that have fuelled her up until this point are now starting to evolve as the lines between happiness and sadness become blurred.
The story is oh so simple and the adventure as Joy and Sadness go from Headquarters into the depths of the conscious mind is smart, but still rooted in a logical sense of fun. The central message of processing your feeling and dealing with your emotions is a great one for children as they’re repeatedly told “don’t sulk”, “don’t cry”, “stop laughing” by adults. The film is 1h 42m long and at that does sag a little in the middle section. There’s a near-perfect 75-minute story in here, with a large chunk of the middle (*cough* clowns *cough*) coming across a little like unnecessary padding.
The magic of the film comes from the voice talent. Director Pete Docter has a brilliant set of character actors on his hands and Poehler in particular is brilliant as Joy. She explodes with energy and is perfectly cast, but plays off brilliantly against Phyllis Smith, her Poehler opposite (your welcome) Sadness.
Unlike some of Pixar’s recent work, this is a real return to the “you can take the kids, but there’s something for the adults too” as it’s got enough laughs and clever visual gags to keep all ages’ interests piqued. En-Joy.
Released across Ireland on July 24th 2015