Movie Review: “Trolls” is for the tiniest tykes, nobody else


With its garish colors, bubbly production numbers and kid-friendly fart and poop jokes, there are plenty of reminders that “Trolls” really isn’t for you or me while you’re watching it.

Even if their favorite hobby is scrapbooking. OK, especially since their favorite hobby is scrapbooking.

I mean, it’s based on a toy, for Pete’s sake. And the most imaginative activities the screenwriters provide troll dolls with for the movie is the fact that they fart glitter and poop out tiny cupcakes.

And scrapbooking.

But there’s no reason small children won’t be at least a little tickled. Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake cover Earth, Wind & Fire, Diana Ross, Lionel Ritchie, and Junior Senior and JT sings an original tune, the trolls dance and show off monkey-tail versatility with their hair.

They hug. A lot. They even have fairy flower wristwatches to remind them to hug.

And again, there’s the whole cup cake pooping thing.

The story, such as it is, is about a Troll tribe led by King Peppy (Jeffrey Tambor) whose motto is, “No Troll Left Behind!” That has to be their motto, because they’re constantly under threat by the joyless Bergen, beasties whose only path to happiness is eating adorable trolls. Every “Trollstice” — which sounds like Smurf speak — the Bergen shake the troll tree and feast on the little darlings.

Until the trolls flee and leave the Bergen bummed. Years and years pass in their new haven, where trolls can sing and dance and party and Princess Poppy (Kendrick) can prepare for her role as ruler.

Only the gloomy, grey and colorless Branch (Timberlake) rains on this parade. He prepares for the worst –a return of the Bergen — and expects it at any minute.

“Everyone deserves to be happy!” he’s told.

“I don’t DO happy.”

Sure enough, the Bergen find them, the Bergen chef (Christine Baranski) hauls off lots of Poppy’s friends for a buffet and it’s up to the survivalist Branch and plucky Poppy to save them.

Yeah, I know, “A Bug’s Life,” lots of other fairytales and cartoons kind of went there first. trolls2

The film is slow to let Timberlake sing, befitting Branch’s mindset. The odd character, here and there, has a moment or funny line. Russell Brand is the hippy guru troll who has a great solution for keeping the tribe hidden.

“Everyone — minimize your auras!”

The look of this Dreamworks Animation film is child’s toybox friendly. The world this takes place looks to be made of felt, even the trolls’ faces.

Kids, say the five-and-unders seeing their first movie, may connect with this confection. But if you’re old enough to know what “puerile” means, there’s nothing to cling to here.

MPAA Rating:PG for some mild rude humor

Cast: The voices of Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Jeffrey Tambor, Zooey Deschanel, Christine Baranski, Russell Brand

Credits:Directed by Walt Dohrn, Mike Mitchell, script by Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger. A Dreamsworks Animation/Fox release.

Running time: 1:32

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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