‘Sing’ reviews: ‘You can’t help but smile,’ but can it take down Disney at the Oscars?

Sing,” from Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment, opened on December 21 right at the tail end of the calendar year, which of course is also the end of the Oscar eligibility period. Can it take advantage of its prime position to upset Disney at the Oscars? Disney and its subsidiary Pixar have dominated the award for Best Animated Feature, winning 10 out of the 15 prizes, including the last four in a row.

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“Sing,” which true to its title is about a singing competition in a world inhabited by animals, isn’t as well reviewed as Disney properties “Zootopia,” “Moana” and “Finding Dory.” As of this writing it has 56 on MetaCritic and 73% freshness on Rotten Tomatoes. But when all is said and done “you can’t help but smile,” and in a year when the brightly colored musical “La La Land” is the frontrunner for Best Picture this film could ride a similar wave of good will.

The most enthusiastic critics say the film’s “combination of pop music and cuddly animals will prove to be an addictive combination for children and adults,” that it’s “quite impossible to dislike it,” and that it might even be a “game-changer” for Illumination. And even before its release it got the seal of approval from the Golden Globes, earning nominations for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song (“Faith” by Ryan Tedder, Stevie Wonder and Francis Farewell Starlite).

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Katie Walsh (Los Angeles Times): “The combination of pop music and cuddly animals will prove to be an addictive combination for children and adults alike — kids were up and dancing in the theater as the credits rolled at a recent screening. It’s a cute movie with genuinely funny moments (keep an eye out for the koala car wash), and some great tunes to boot.”

Moira Macdonald (Seattle Times): “All of these plot lines are strung together frenetically, but for the most part adorably, particularly that teenage elephant in her sneakers and jeans, standing on the stage looking as if she’d like the spotlight to swallow her up … It’s hard to get too excited about ‘Sing,’ which takes a bit too long to travel its familiar path, but it’s also quite impossible to dislike it.”

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Peter Debruge (Variety): “If it weren’t for the four little Minions who flex their pipes at the opening of ‘Sing,’ you wouldn’t necessarily know that the massively entertaining jukebox musical that follows hails from the same studio that brought you ‘Despicable Me’ and ‘The Secret Life of Pets’ … But for Illumination Entertainment, ‘Sing’ is a game-changer, underscoring why company founder Chris Meledandri is the hottest name in animation today.”

Gregory Ellwood (The Playlist): “It my seem flippant to compare ‘Sing’ to another Universal property, ‘Pitch Perfect,’ but in many ways its truly an apt and positive comparison. The first parts of both movies are a mix of laughs and some clunky plot points, but when anyone sings? When the big show finally happens at the end of the picture? You can’t help but smile.”

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