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4 Things Parents Should Know about Sing 2

4 Things Parents Should Know about <em>Sing 2</em>

Buster Moon is an optimistic never-say-die theater owner who believes his latest small-city musical is good enough for the big metropolis of Redshore City. It's funny. It's charming. It's uplifting. 

Unfortunately, though, the Redshore City talent scout disagrees.

"You'd never make it in the big leagues," she tells him.

Buster Moon, though, isn't giving up. He has a plan. He'll load a bus with his best singers, actors and actresses and drive to Redshore City. There, he'll find an entertainment bigwig who is impressed with his thoughts and ideas – and who will hire him on the spot. 

And before it's all over, Buster Moon and his crew will be rich and famous. Right?  

"There's a reason our show is sold out every night, and I'm telling you, her boss is gonna love it," Buster Moon tells his crew. 

It's an ambitious plan. Will it work?

The new animated movie Sing 2 (PG) follows the story of Buster Moon and his crew as they attempt to land a slot in a Broadway-style show. It stars Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson and Tori Kelly.

Here are four things parents should know:

1. It's the Next Chapter in a Story of Underdogs

In the first Sing movie (2016), Buster Moon's aging theater faced imminent closure due to a lack of funds and dwindling attendance. But Moon – a perpetual underdog – had a plan to spark attention: He would host a city-wide talent show and offer $1,000 to the winner. The talent show soars in popularity when Moon's iguana secretary – the half-blind Miss Crawly – accidentally tells everyone the prize is $100,000. Talented singers from across the city apply, including a pig named Rosita who is the mother of 25 piglets, a gorilla named Johnny who comes from a family of crime, and a female elephant named Meena who struggles with insecurity. Like the singers in real-world TV talent shows, none of them are professional singers.   

In Sing 2, Buster Moon assembles this diverse cast to put on a Broadway-style musical with the goal of impressing a talent scout. When that fails, he travels to the city to meet the tough-nosed and unforgiving entertainment tycoon Jimmy Crystal, who begrudgingly agrees to Moon's proposal for a space musical. (Moon dishonestly tells Crystal that rock star Clay Calloway – a person Moon has never met – will be in the production.)

Director Garth Jennings told Crosswalk the sequel began with a simple thought: What would it be like for these characters "who came from such humble beginnings to try to make it on the biggest stage"?   

"That was such a tantalizing project," he said.

2. It Celebrates the Power of Music

At its core, Sing 2 is a celebration of the power of music – an art form that is almost other-worldly in its ability to spark emotions and memories from the distant past. It makes us laugh. It makes us cry. It sticks with us for decades after the fact. It even helps with memorization and memory. It's as if music was created by a loving God to draw us closer to Him and to one another. (It was.)

"It's amazing to me how the opening chords of a song can do more work in terms of emotional impact than anything we could ever write," Jennings said of music's power.

In Sing 2, music is more than just the soundtrack. When Buster Moon gets rejected by the talent agent, we hear Elton John's sorrowful Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. When Buster and his crew try to sneak past the security guards in a building, we hear Billie Eilish's low-key Bad Guy. When the new character Porsha performs a circus-like stunt in the production, we hear Alicia Keys' Girl on Fire. Nearly every musical genre is represented. 

The lyrics in Sing 2 do stay in kid-friendly territory, but that doesn't mean everyone is a kid-friendly artist. For example, a street dancer performs to a song by Cardi B, Bad Bunny and J Balvin (I Like It). (If you ever catch your kids listening to Cardi B when you're not around, you might want to, well, throw the radio in the river.) 

A family's view of Sing 2 likely will mirror their view of mainstream music. 

3. It's Urges us to Persevere

Don't ever count out Buster Moon. When the female talent agent tells him that his show stinks, he chases her car down the road to try and change her mind. When that fails, he and his crew hop on a bus and travel to Redshore City – the same city where that talent agent lives. When the security guards at Redshore City won't let him visit with the bigwigs, he hatches a plan to sneak up the elevator. 

Buster Moon is successful because he never takes "no" for an answer. (Although, unfortunately, he is deceptive a couple of times, too.) Buster's hard work and determination spread to everyone around him, including to his secretary (who is in charge of finding the reclusive Clay Calloway) and to Rosita (who must overcome her fear of heights for a stunt).

Sing 2 has positive messages about perseverance, courage and the family. It also urges moviegoers not to squander their talents. 

"You're going to need more than just enthusiasm" to succeed in life, Jennings said of the film's message. "... You're going to need faith, you're going to need guts, you're going to need stamina, you're going to need that perseverance."

4. It Stays in the Family-Friendly Realm

Sing 2 is rated PG for some rude material and mild peril/violence, yet it stays within the family-friendly lane. Unlike its predecessor, there are no head-scratching songs and dances. (Sing briefly included the posterior-centric Anaconda from Nicki Minaj). The film contains no coarse language or sexuality. The violence is minimal (one character holds another character off a skyscraper balcony, ready to kill him).

Sing 2 is a high-energy, fun film with solid messages for both parents and children.  

Language details: Oh my gosh (12), "go to heck" (1), perhaps one OMG, an unfinished "what the …" One woman is called a "goddess." 

Entertainment rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Family-friendly rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Photo courtesy: ©Universal

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.