A movie based on an app? Stupidest. Thing. Ever.
Now that we got that out of the way, this movie is better than I imagined possible, having known nothing about the movie or the app. Before seeing this movie, I thought – should I download the app? Might there be some crucial plot point that I need to grasp going in? But then I thought, nay, realized – nah.
Here’s what I have discovered: three friends live among a flock of super happy birds. But they’re not happy. They’re angry. They met at anger management. Red (Jason Sudeikis), Chuck (Josh Gad), and Bomb (Danny McBride) only get angrier when a ship of green pigs sails out of nowhere (“But there’s no other place besides here!”) and start encouraging them to adopt pig ways. They introduce things like trampolines, slingshots, and helium gas, and I thought – these are the dumbest gifts. Birds don’t need to be hurled about, they already fly!
Then I thought – Oh. Wait. I haven’t seen a single bird fly and we’re 30 minutes into this thing. Are these birds flightless? And then Red, Chuck, and Bomb hiked up a mountain and that confirmed it, yup, flightless (“Ugh, my calves are killing me.”). So they hike up a mountain in order to find Mighty Eagle who might help out with the pig problem because Red does NOT trust the pigs, not one rasher (“Something about those pigs isn’t kosher”).
Anyway. My hat’s off to the screenwriter who pulled this movie entirely out of his ass. It’s easier to make a story out of nothing than it is to make one out of weird, specific prompts: angry birds, pigs, slingshots – Go! And yet here we have it, and it only took 4 grown men to come up with it: John Cohen, Mikael Hed, Mikko Polla, and Jon Vitti. That said, it’s flimsy. It’s better than a movie based on an app should be, because it’s still a stupid concept (confidential to the jerks who want to turn Fruit Ninja into a movie: STUPID CONCEPT!). But it’s a better cartoon than Norm of the North. And Kungfu Panda 3. And Hotel Transylvania 2. And yet worse than the trailer to Finding Dory. Yeah, I said it. It can’t even compete with a Pixar trailer. So what kind of endorsement is this? It’s not much of one, that’s what.
But will kids like it? I mean, some kids weren’t even born when the app came out in 2009, and hopefully most kids aren’t already carrying smartphones in their pockets. I know it had a hard time keeping my attention, and I have the attention span of a 3 year old (so: no). But it’s energetic and filled with primary colours, which might impress the 4-year olds but is beneath the 8 year olds. And it’s got some great one-liners that even I could appreciate, and a few sight gags that made not completely resent the film. It’s rated PG for “rude humor and action” and yes, there’s some rude humour. How do you feel about pelvic thrusts combined with sexual innuendo (I know, I know – is there any other kind). But what stopped me in my tracks was that one bird says “Shut up.” Shut up was a VERY bad word in my house, growing up. VERY bad. Awful. Huge trouble. Then again, so was vagina, so that shit’s messed up (is this just me? What was off-limits in your house?).
So yeah. It’s vaguely entertaining. Pretty hollow. Filled with Sean Penn’s grunts. Awkward theme to explain to your kids. And the hallmark of a sub-par animated film: the characters dance to an out-of-date pop song. I’m waving the caution flag, folks.