20th Century Studios
Directed by Sara Smith & Jean-Philippe Vine
Stars: Zach Galifianakis, Jack Dylan Grazer, Ed Helms, Justice Smith, Olivia Colman, Rob Delaney, and Kylie Cantrall
Ron’s Gone Wrong may easily have the funniest script of any animated film this year. The amount of bellyaching laughs that it provided was something that was missed for majority of the animated releases this year. Never feeling like it relied on dumb low bad humor to make its point, Ron’s Gone Wrong dropped a plethora of running jokes and sophisticated humor that was not too high brow for only a few to understand- but not low brow for it to feel like a bad joke, rather it made the viewer think for a second and bust out laughing. In a year that’s had so many more serious family movies with more serious messaging below it’s humour, Ron’s Gone Wrong feels like an important statement piece for just a feel good family animated story that will have everyone in the household smiling through its runtime.
The story of Barney, an awkward middle-schooler and Ron, his new walking, talking, digitally-connected device. Ron's malfunctions set against the backdrop of the social media age launch them on a journey to learn about true friendship.
Sure on a story basis compared to its counterparts, its extremely familiar. We’ve seen the loner boy discover the importance and value of friendship through dozens of different things from animals, people and other robots. That’s not to say that it doesn’t do its best to Y least tell it’s own distinct version of the story, and put their own memorable stamp on it. We get all the familiar messaging on friendship, the warning signs of technology, but we also get a character in Justice Smith’s Marc Wydell who is the CEO of the B-Bots and is the rare movie CEO that is in it for the right intentions and not the profit- he shows what can happen when technology is used for the right reasons and doesn’t just fall into the cliche technology is evil and ruins everything. The film is strong because of the way they can successfully navigate between comedy, and the serious dramatic moments that were given- they can have the viewer laughing in one instance, and then have them all in the feels from a touching moment between Ron and Barney. All feeling natural, and not forced, just a perfect flip of the switch and transition between emotions.
The characters are fun and cast a wide array of personalities and interests that kids have. Olivia Colman commits to the Bulgarian accent and it’s a sight to behold as never does the accent falter, its so perfect and just the right amount of over the top. Grazer and Galifianakis are perfect together as out leads, they have the right voices for their characters and their interactions are the primary source of our laughter. You can feel the realism in the friendship and bond that forms between the two, as Ron learns to do what a B-Bot is supposed to do, and Barney learns what a friend is supposed to do. Delaney does his best as the stereotypical big bad villain type, the character is very one dimensional and has the most cliche reasoning for why he does what he does, but these animated films always have to have a bad guy- and Delaney does a fine job to make the character interesting. Kylie Cattrall is the other standout as Savannah, whose character arc is pretty solid for a secondary character.
In the end, Ron’s Gone Wrong is well worth the stream on Disney+. It’s the least heavy subject manner of any animated film released this year that I’ve seen, and is just a ball of charm that everyone in your household will enjoy.