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Trolls World Tour (2020)::rating::3::rating::3

[su_dropcap size=”5″]L[/su_dropcap]ike most modern kids fare, Trolls World Tour aims to be colorful, loud, and with just enough entertainment value to keep mouth-breathing toddlers quiet for 90 minutes.  We can safely check all those boxes, but that’s about it.  Don’t expect the ambitious creative sweep or emotional resonance of the Pixar films.  I’ll put it this way for parents:  During this time of epic isolation, Trolls 2 should buy you just enough time to enjoy two El Presidente margaritas.  

It’s some time after the events of Trolls, and Poppy (voice of Anna Kendrick) settles into her role as queen of the Troll tribe.  Branch (Justin Timberlake) wants to express his feelings for her, but a communication gap puts a wedge between them.  Trouble also brews on the horizon when Poppy learns she and her clan aren’t the only Trolls in the world.  Turns out, there are different tribes for different musical genres:  The techno tribe enjoys a perpetual rave.  The country Trolls wallow in tears-and-beer anthems.  And so on.  Well, the Rock Trolls, led by Queen Barb (Rachel Bloom) seek to conquer the world by assembling a harp string from each kingdom and playing a magical power chord.  This will demolish every other form of music and render each Troll into a drooling, Sabbath-loving rock zombie.

You might think that all sounds resoundingly silly.  And you’d be right.  Trolls World Tour feels like 90 minutes of fluffy cotton candy.  The musical numbers barrel along like a Spotify playlist in shuffle mode:  This little film will likely have the distinction of having the only soundtrack with “Gangham Style” and “Barracuda” at the same time.  With all the familiar music, parents can take a trip down Nostalgia Lane, which often leads directly to God I’m Old As Shit Blvd.  

As with many films in this genre, Trolls 2 packs its roster with celebrity voice talent: Kendrick brings just the right amount of bubbly naiveté to Poppy, while JT makes for a grouchy voice of reason.  Listen carefully and you’ll hear James Corden, Kelly Clarkson, George Clinton–George Clinton!–and many others.  Everybody seems to be having fun, something that’s infectious to the entire production.

In fact, fun might be the simplest and best way to describe Trolls World Tour.  On the spectrum of entertainment–with Bambi on one end and getting whacked in the face with a snow shovel on the other–we’ll put this outing somewhere square in the middle.  If you have kids, they’ll probably love it.  Hell, after those two margaritas, you may love it, too.  

91 min.  PG.  

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