I Second That Emotion

Pixar has long been recognized for making kids' movies that also happen to appeal to adults, but there's an odd little twist to their latest one, Inside Out. This might just be their first adult movie that happens to appeal to kids. Following in the vein of that television classic, Herman's Head, Inside Out follows a girl named Riley who is uprooted from her happy home in Minnesota and moved to San Francisco because of her dad's job. Nothing about the move or her first day of school goes well, consternating the emotions roiling in her mind.

There are five of them up there: Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), Fear (Bill Hader), and Anger (Lewis Black). Joy tries to keep everyone positive all the time, but Sadness keeps messing things up. When Joy and Sadness become lost in the recesses of Riley's mind, the other three must try to hold down the fort, with terrible results. Turns out when Disgust tries to act like Joy, the result is sarcasm.

Joy and Sadness begin the perilous journey back to headquarters, and along the way, Joy learns that far from being a blockade, Sadness is a critical component of Riley's emotional development. It's a healthy message, and a powerful way to show kids that it's important to process all their feelings.

It's possibly the talkiest Pixar movie to date, which is one of the reasons I think it's more geared towards adults than the others. Sure, there are bright colors and action and sight gags, but the meat of the story is Joy's constant attempts to put a positive spin on things, only to be stymied by circumstance. It's also the first Pixar movie I can think of that lacks an actual villain; everything is about Riley's emotional states, all of which are integral to her personality.

Overall, I liked it, but not as much as I thought I was going to. The cast does an admirable job, but despite the terrific messaging, the story itself was little too expository, making the plot feel a bit rushed. One tangential note: I did heartily enjoy the little side scene with Paula Poundstone and Bobby Moynihan as "Forgetter" workers, deciding what long-term memories Riley will hang onto, which she can forget, and which commercial jingle should be her nagging earworm. That gave me the biggest belly laugh of the whole thing.

I'd definitely recommend Inside Out, but it's unclear where this movie will fall on the Pixar "Rank and File" list. I guess I'll have to let my own emotions battle it out.

Inside Out: B+


Post a Comment

Copyright © Slice of Lime