[Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures]

Movie Review: Inside Out 2

07:00 June 17, 2024
By: David Vicari

Inside Out 2 (2024)

The original Inside Out from 2015 is lovely. However, as of late, the animated films from Pixar haven't been quite as good as they once were, so there was apprehension going into Inside Out 2. Yes, it's not as good as the original, and "sequel-itis" does rear its ugly head as the film occasionally feels like just more of the same. However, there are enough new elements in Inside Out 2 to make it a pleasant filmgoing experience.

[Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures]

The sequel starts with now 13-year-old Riley (voice of Kensington Tallman) starting high school with hopes of making the school's hockey team, the Fire Hawks. Riley's emotions—Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear (Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Lewis Black, Liza Lapire, and Tony Hale, respectively)—watch over her from their headquarters in her mind and think everything is smooth sailing, that is until Riley's "Puberty Alarm" goes off. When that happens, a construction crew comes in and demolishes the headquarters, and a new group of emotions show up to take over. These new emotions—Envy, Ennui, and Embarrassment (Ayo Edebiri, Adèle Exarchopoulos, and Paul Walter Hauser, respectively)—are led by Anxiety (Maya Hawke), who banishes Joy and company to the back of Riley's mind. To stop Anxiety from polluting the young girl with negative thoughts, Joy must retrieve an orb that is Riley's "Sense of Self," get back to the headquarters, and retake the control panel.

Inside Out 2 has some fun throwaway gags, like the Sar-Casm, which is a rock chasm where whatever you yell to someone comes out like you are being sarcastic. The new character designs are also amusing—Anxiety looks like an orange Bermudagrass weed with eyes, and Embarrassment is a big pink guy in a hoodie whose butt crack is always on display when he cowers.

As funny as all this is, the movie is at its best when it's in tune with 13-year-old's feelings of self-worth. The screenplay by Meg LeFauve and Dave Holstein is smarter and deeper than just being a collection of goofy gags.

Inside Out 2 is imaginative enough and thoughtful enough to justify its existence.

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