2016’s The Angry Birds Movie was based on a popular mobile game where the player fires birds out of a slingshot to attack pigs. Even with a one-dimensional videogame as its inspiration, it was bad: a pointless plot, dumb characters, lame dialogue and a lot of unfunny jokes delivered by a really good cast. The thought of sitting through its sequel, The Angry Birds Movie 2, filled me with dread. Thankfully, it is an improvement. The plot is better, the gags are sometimes funny and the whole thing moves much quicker. It is less interested in telling a coherent story and more interested in being a series of intermittently amusing shenanigans. I still do not recommend it, but kids will laugh at the butt jokes (there are a lot of them) and adults can distract themselves with the pop culture references.
Previously very angry bird Red is now a hero after helping to save Bird Island from the pigs. As this sequel starts, Bird Island and Pig Island are still at odds. That is until pig leader Leonard discovers a third island, whose inhabitants want to destroy them both. So the birds and pigs need to team up to save their homes.
This is all as ridiculous as it sounds and it knows it. There is no attempt at sincerity or emotion. Angry Birds 2 is light entertainment. There is absolutely a place for that. I was not particularly entertained, though the subplot concerning the struggle of three baby birds to protect some eggs was strangely engaging, in a Looney Tunes kind of way. It is hard to be mad at a movie that mainly exists so kids can giggle at pig butts, yet it was also hard for me to fully enjoy it.
The voice cast is amazing, however what is really impressive is that no one out of this group is able to do anything memorable. Jason Sudeikis is Red, Bill Hader is Leonard, Josh Gad is speedy Chuck, Danny McBride is the explosive Bomb, Rachel Bloom is Chuck’s brainy sister, Silver, and Leslie Jones is the head of the new island. There is also Awkwafina, Peter Dinklage, Sterling K. Brown, Tiffany Haddish, Zach Woods, Tony Hale, Maya Rudolph and even more funny people I do not have space to list. With all of them in one production, there should be more than just a handful of good bits. It was nice to hear them, but that collection of talent should have been assembled for a cleverer screenplay.
The Angry Birds Movie 2 (89 minutes without the end credits) is an animated comedy that uses spy movies and war movies as the jumping off point for its goofiness. This was intended to make its family audience laugh at some silliness for the length of its running time, not to be remembered for years to come. I chuckled at a few of the more absurd moments and nothing here made me roll my eyes, so I guess it was a success. It is certainly a step up from its predecessor. If this is what the kids insist on seeing, it is watchable and actually has a couple of inspired sequences. But with better choices for families currently in theaters (Dora, Toy Story 4, even The Lion King), maybe you should wait until this shows up on streaming. That way, kids can laugh at all the butts and adults can catch the occasional witty line from the other room.
2¼ out of 5
Jason Sudeikis as Red
Bill Hader as Leonard
Josh Gad as Chuck
Rachel Bloom as Silver
Danny McBride as Bomb
Leslie Jones as Zeta
Awkwafina as Courtney
Sterling K. Brown as Garry
Peter Dinklage as Mighty Eagle
Directed by Thurop Van Orman
Written by Peter Ackerman, Eyal Podell and Jonathon E. Stewart