The visuals are astonishing (especially the colors! holy crap!), and the story doesn’t lack for scope or invention or polish. But a polished turd is still a turd, and this script is pretty rough. The jokes hit maybe 15% of the time. It’s like screenwriters read a book on Internet culture and memes written in 2008. As for the story… lots of holes and inconsistencies, but the biggest issue is that it’s too chaotic with fluctuating stakes and sense of danger.
Lord & Miller & co. did way better with “creative/inventive type must save the world from technology gone wrong while reconnecting with their stubborn technophobic father” in Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (honestly still maybe my favorite by them; neck-and-neck with Spider-Verse). Heck — maybe this movie’s funniest gag, the dad trying to use a computer under pressure, is almost beat-for-beat from a scene in Cloudy.
A couple bits really land: Some of the quieter daddy-daughter stuff tugs at my father-of-2-girls heartstrings. And parental Instagram jealousy is a real thing. Overall it’s a fun family watch, but not one I’ll be itching to revisit.
Note: This review was originally published elsewhere. Please excuse brevity or inconsistencies in style. If you have questions or feedback, please leave a comment or contact me.