Rated PG, 93 minutes
You'll want to hug someone after seeing the bouncy, colorful new animated flick "Trolls" from Dreamworks Pictures. It pulls few surprises and everyone seems so darn cheery, but you'll still have a good time, in particularly with its energetic soundtrack.
Poppy (Anna Kendrick), the optimistic leader and future queen of the trolls, and Branch (Justin Timberlake), her polar opposite, embark on an adventure that takes them far beyond the only world they've ever known, to stop from being devoured by the negative Bergens, led by their young king (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and their mean-spirited Chef (Christine Baranski).
Directed by MIke Mitchell and Walt Dohrn and co-written by Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger, the duo behind the "Kung Fu Panda" animated film series, Dreamworks clearly has a lot riding on the slick but peppy, good-hearted "Trolls," even if the "everyone has happy inside them" is pop psychology that treads some questionable ground. What isn't questionable is that it succeeds in cheering people up, and there are some good laughs amidst a thin, meandering second act.
Kendrick and Timberlake are a likable pair for sure, yet in an ensemble cast such as this, there are others such as Zooey Deschanel as a kind-hearted Bergen maid, the delectably evil Baranski (who could easily do this in her sleep) as the very evil Chef, and in a terrific, hilarious cameo, co-director Dohrn as the Cloud guy, who shows our peppy troll duo down the right path, after a few high-fives, that is.
In reality, I find those Troll dolls, on which this is loosely based, slightly creepy and annoying, but these Trolls are far from that, and may make you jump up and dance, particularly with Timberlake's ubiquitous "I Can't Stop the Feeling," though my favorites were memorable versions of 80's hits: Cyndi Lauper's wistfully sad "True Colors" and Deschanel singing her heart out with Lionel Richie's "Hello" mid-film.
Leave your attitude at the door, cause you're likely to be smiling by the end of bright and zippy "Trolls" and if you don't want a hug, then run the other way.