The Reel Review

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The primary emotions residing in Riley’s brain go into overdrive when a bunch of new complex emotions show up just as Riley starts experiencing puberty, in this Disney-Pixar animated adventure comedy. Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith and Lewis Black reprise their roles from 2015’s Oscar-winning Inside Out, with Maya Hawke voicing Anxiety, Riley’s big new emotion.

Anger (Lewis Black), Fear (Tony Hale), Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadnesss (Phyllis Smith), Disgust (Liza Lapira), Envy (Ayo Edebiri), Anxiety (Maya Hawke) and Embarrassment (Paul Walter Hauser) in Inside Out 2

Co-writer Kelsey Mann’s directorial debut is a cute crowd-pleaser, this time about the flood of emotions that occur as Riley navigates sleepaway ice hockey camp after learning that her two best friends/teammates will be going to a different high school in the fall. While Poehler, Hawke and Smith, as Joy, Anxiety and Sadness, get the bulk of screentime, the new emotions envy, ennui, nostalgia and embarrassment – respectively voiced by Ayo Edebiri (The Bear), French actress Adèle Exarchopoulos, June Squibb and Paul Walter Hauser – each contribute some cute laughs and tender moments to the story.

Riley (Kensington Tallman) center, surrounded by her besties Bree (Sumayyah Nuriddin-Green) and Grace (Grace Lu)  in Inside Out 2

Inside Out 2‘s cute visuals. emotional heft and its creativity – the way it depicts such ethereal concepts as the sense of self and belief systems as well as the more humorous brainstorming and sar-chasm – are where the film shines. A sluggish midsection and the predictable story keeps this sequel from being just a hair shy of the original, but its message – that it takes all of our emotions to make us who we are, still makes it a big, heartfelt winner.

REEL FACTS

• Tony Hale (Veep) and Liza Lapira (Battle Creek, Fast & Furious) replaced Bill Hader and Mindy Kaling as Fear and Disgust when the latter two balked at returning due to what they said was a low salary offer of $100,000, vs the $5 million Disney-Pixar paid Amy Poehler.

Inside Out 2 grossed $155 million in the U.S. in its opening weekend, the second biggest weekend opening for an animated film, just behind the 2018 weekend premiere of Incredibles 2, with $183 million.

• Maya Hawke says she leaned into her own experiences with how she breathes differently during panic attacks for Anxiety’s big climactic scene.

 

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