None of the X-factor-like drama but with a smidge of it’s endearing nature. Washed up koala Buster has dreams of bringing his theatre back to its former glory in the days prior to his ownership. A noble cause for the arts but every business adventure he’s embarked upon so far has left him in the red. In a final attempt to bring the place back to it’s heyday Buster opens up a singing competition to everyday wannabes, all hoping to scoop the $100,000 cash prize.
Matthew McConaughey plays boundless optimist Buster who sees his measly $1,000 prize giveaway swell to a whopping $100,000 thanks to a error made by his bumbling, one-eyed, senile receptionist Mrs Crawley (Garth Jennings).
The pair make for a lovable, co-dependent duo – i.e. Buster can’t afford to pay a decent receptionist and Mrs Crawley is unemployable anywhere else owing to the fact that her retirement is long overdue. Along with these two, directors Gathe Jennings and Christophe Lourdelet have assembled an incredible cast.
Relative new-comer Taron Egerton plays low-level criminal Jonny the gorilla. Jonny is desperate to break away from the family business of skiving and stealing to become the singer he’s always dreamt of being. His wide-eyed, dreamer interpretation of Johnny compliments the other neurotic, eccentric wannabes like wild mouse Mike (Seth MacFarlane) and brass pig Gunter (Nick Kroll).
Reese Witherspoon is one to watch out for in this movie. Cast in the role of underappreciated, over-worked mum of 25, Rosita is eager to break those desperate housewife shackles and let the real her shine and shine she does.
However, despite all the characters’ depth and backstories they fail to evoke much care for those memorable ‘tear-jerking’ moments to matter (and there is potential for many). Meena’s (Tori Kelly) struggles to overcome perpetual shyness to own the stage and Johnny’s frustration that see him caught between loyalty and ambition pack little emotional impact. You find yourself wanting to rally for them but there is a disconnect between audience and character.
The story itself is predictable from start to finish but enjoyable. Excellent vocals make up for the latter two points. *Slight spoiler* alert – While it was always intended for Meena to steal the show it was Rosita who really razzle-dazzled that stage with her (and Gunter’s) rendition of Taylor Swifts’ Shake It Off. If nothing else, you’ll never be able to hear “Player’s gonna play, play, play, play, play,” without the image of a sassy pig tearing up the stage coming to mind.
A pleasant enough watch but nothing special.