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Directors: Sarah Smith, Jean-Philippe Vine
Cast: Zach Galifianakis, Jack Dylan Grazer, Ed Helms, Justice Smith, Rob Delaney, Kylie Cantrall, Olivia Colman
REVIEWED BY JEREMY QUINN
Although the thought of sitting through a non-Disney/Pixar computer-animated kids’ film fills me with the sort of terror normally reserved for blind dates or job interviews, I nevertheless decided to mark Halloween not with the latest Michael Myers slashfest but by truly confronting my fears and heading to see Ron’s Gone Wrong (Rialto, Reading).
What could possibly, er, go wrong?
As it turns out, not much at all. After a shaky start where I thought I might be destined for a repeat of the great Luis and the Aliens debacle of 2018, I actually started to warm to this tale of American middle-schoolers becoming entranced by the latest tech innovation/social media craze of personalised robot friends known as B-bots.
Being the first film from the newly formed UK production company Locksmith Animation, it’s clear they’ve thought through many of the issues that often hinder these lower-budget efforts, namely the ugliness of the animation and the terrible, pandering humour that makes them unwatchable for anyone over the age of 12.
It also scores a major goal with Zach Galifianakis’ endearing and very funny voice performance as Ron, the faulty B-bot who is purchased as a birthday gift for Barney Pudowski (Jack Dylan Grazer), an outsider who is the only one at his school still without the newest gadget.
For a satire it might be a little thin, but it delivers some genuine laughs and is made with more care and far less cynicism than the usual school holiday filler.