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Sing, sing a song
Sing out loud
Sing out strong…

Those are the lyrics to The Carpenter’s big hit, but they could also not be more perfect to describe the tone and message of Illumination Entertainment’s latest, Sing.

The people who brought us the Despicable Me movies and the Minions movie are back and this Zootopia meets American Idol hybrid is a fun delight for families seeking solace from the holiday craziness.

Matthew McConaughey voices Buster Moon, a Koala Bear who owns a theater that has never quite lived up to its potential. He’s behind on his bills and on the verge of losing the establishment to the bank if he doesn’t think of a cash cow for the place and soon! One day, brilliance hits him and he realizes that America loves singing competitions and what if he put our a call for the best singers who have previously just sang to family, friends or even just in the shower, and offered a prize that would include fame and fortune (yes, he keenly knows he’s putting the cart ahead of the horse here in terms of the fortune part)?

He holds auditions and a slew of amazing and some not-so-amazing voices show up. Leading the way is Reese Witherspoon’s Rosita. She is a pig with a husband who works so much that he barely notices all the work she does around the house taking care of their two dozen piglets. Scarlett Johansson’s Ash is a hard rocking chick whose boyfriend rocker has been holding her back and through the competition, she might just find her own voice. Mike (Seth MacFarlane) maybe a tiny mouse, but he croons large like Frank Sinatra and has the attitude to match. Johnny (Taron Egerton) is from a simian criminal family, but he wants something more (legit) out of life and has the potential to be a heartthrob/singing sensation. Then there’s Meena (Tori Kelly), an elephant whose family thinks she has the greatest voice in the world, but… she is so shy that she would never dream of letting anyone hear her. When she stumbles on the talent show, instead of getting noticed for her vocal prowess, Buster puts her to work as a stage manager before she gets to sing a note.

Believe you-me, at some point, her singing with soar, and so too will this competition.

Sing isn’t necessarily have the magic of a Zootopia and feels a little flatter than some of Disney’s latest fare. Yet, it is still an enjoyable ride and it features some of our favorite songs sung by some fantastic talents, all wrapped up in a story that more than professes a tale that urges its audience to pursue their dreams, regardless of what they are and how difficult it may be to achieve them.

The cast is stellar, and leading the way in the most surprising manner is McConaughey. Considering he has one of the most recognizable vocal tones of anyone in Hollywood, it is a miracle that he gets so lost in this dreamer role of a guy who has been pushed down so many times, yet doesn’t show an inch of doubt. It’s easy to forget you’re hearing the guy who gave us “Alright, alright, alright!” all those years ago. It’s mesmerizing and further proves that this McConaissance that recently seemed to culminate in his Best Actor Oscar, is still ascending.

After witnessing Sing, don’t be surprised if you find yourself singing your favorite songs whenever you get the chance. And sure… you will be singing it loud and strong.