Sing 2: Buster’s back with a stellar cast

Sequel is another unmissable show, featuring Matthew McConaughey, Bono and Scarlett Johansen

Thursday, 27th January — By Dan Carrier

Sing 2

SING 2
Directed by Garth Jennings
Certificate: PG
☆☆☆☆

PICTURE the scene. Writer-director Garth Jennings is kicking about ideas for his sequel to Sing, the euphorically entertaining animated comedy about a down-at-heel theatre-owning koala bear, Buster Moon, and his rag-tag light entertainers.

Jennings has written a reclusive rock star character, but who to play it?

Bono of course, he pipes up, possibly in jest. Cue giggles all round and then, before you know it, the U2 frontman is in the studio, voicing a lion.

Jennings’ think-big, aim-high, approach is very much like the lead character Moon – you’re putting on a show, so put on a show!

This time round, Buster’s troupe of super-talented misfit animals – a gorilla, elephant, two pigs and a porcupine – are packing them in at his provincial city theatre. But Buster wants more, and has designs on hitting Redshore City, a desert metropolis of ludicrous hotels and giant stage extravaganzas.

A series of unlikely events transpire – okay, this is a cartoon about talking animals, so why not? – as Buster and his team produce a massive set-piece show for rough-tough Mafioso hotel owner and entertainment mogul Jimmy Crystal (Bobby Cannavale).

Added drama comes from Crystal’s spoilt daughter Buster needs to include and the reclusive megastar rocker Clay. If Buster can’t fulfil a rash promise to get Clay in the show, it’ll be lights out.

There is a strain of identifiably English humour running through Jennings’ writing and it feels more pronounced because it has been transplanted into the body of an American film.

Jennings, who hails from Waltham Forest, offers an American musical through a pronounced English comic lens.

Sing’s pace, characters and endless gags feel influenced by the fact the writer-director has to his earlier acting credits “Fun Dead Zombie” in Shaun of the Dead, and “Crack Addict” in Hot Fuzz. It follows he cast himself as the ageing iguana Miss Crawly, Buster’s loyal and bang-brilliant eccentric PA.

It is also beautifully designed. Jennings was nominated for a Grammy for his video with Radiohead, and the film is full of memorable sequences. This sequel earns an extra star due to Matthew McConaughey’s Buster being such a loveable rogue. Spending time in his company is never wasted. He’s a child-friendly marsupial version of Arthur Daley. It is – literally and figuratively speaking – an all-singing, dancing cast with voices provided by Jennifer Saunders, Scarlett Johansen, Reese Witherspoon, Taron Egerton. Throw in Pharell Williams and Bono, this is another unmissable show by Buster Moon, impresario extraordinaire.

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