Movie review: The Angry Birds Movie takes flight with irreverent humour

Angry birds (from left) Chuck, Red and Bomb meet at anger management therapy.
Angry birds (from left) Chuck, Red and Bomb meet at anger management therapy. PHOTOS: 2016 ROVIO, REUTERS



97 minutes/Opens tomorrow/3 stars

The story: On idyllic Bird Island, the avian denizens are flightless and, mostly, happy. Because of an outburst at work, Red (Jason Sudeikis) is sentenced to anger management therapy, where he meets hyper Chuck (Josh Gad) and short-fused Bomb (Danny McBride). When Leonard (Bill Hader) sails over from Piggy Island, everyone is charmed at first. Then all the eggs get stolen and Red has to tap into the anger of the birds to launch a counter-attack on the thieving pigs.

Quick personality test. If you are upset about something, you:

A) Keep it all in and then explode in one go.

B) Have an urge to smash into things at great speed.

C) Destroy anything and everything in your path.

D) Have an urge to snack on eggs.

If your answer is A, B or C and you can also point to the specific bird associated with these angry types (A: Bomb, B: Chuck, C: Mighty Eagle), then, clearly, you are familiar with the Angry Birds game.

If you answered D, you are a pig - in the context of the film.

While the movie is probably a little more fun for players of the Rovio game - one of the most popular in the world since it was released in December 2009 for mobile phones - it is entertaining enough even for those who have no clue what the fuss is about.

The humour here is of the irreverent, anything-goes variety, so there are gags about anger management therapy involving yoga poses and confessional poetry, pigs performing country music and a reference to Stanley Kubrick's classic horror flick The Shining (1980).

There is even a character arc for Red, who goes from an outcast teased for his bushy eyebrows to a reluctant hero who gets accepted for who he is.

Not bad considering he started out getting flung from a slingshot ad nauseam in a game.

Films based on video games have not set a very high bar in the past with clunkers such as Hitman: Agent 47 (2015) and Street Fighter: The Legend Of Chun-Li (2009).

The Angry Birds Movie is at least unlikely to ruffle your feathers or have you blowing up in anger.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 25, 2016, with the headline 'Ruffled feathers and plenty of laughs'. Print Edition | Subscribe