A movie based on an app? Sounds pretty preposterous. But somehow, the folks behind The Angry Birds Movie, which opens area wide on Friday, pull it off. It helps that the filmmakers recruited some A-list talent to provide the voices.
Appropriately enough, the sarcastic but likeable Jason Sudeikis does the heavy lifting here. He portrays Red, the film's anti-hero, with a real sensitivity. Turns out, the other birds don't like Red so much. They think he has anger issues, something that comes to the fore when he shows up late to a young bird's birthday party, falling onto an egg and making it hatch too early. The newborn bird is now so confused that it calls him dad, much to its real father's chagrin. No wonder all the birds prefer that this guy lives outside the town.
As a punishment, Red heads to anger management classes taught by Matilda (Maya Rudolph), an angry bird herself. She controls her rage by telling herself to take deep breaths, and she attempts to make her students follow suit. The other birds in the class include Chuck (Josh Gad), Bomb (Danny McBride), and Terence (Sean Penn, who simply grunts a few times). Despite his reclusive nature, Red enjoys their company and soon strikes up a friendship with his feathered fellows.
In predictable fashion, the island where Red and the birds live comes under attack one day as a boatload of pigs lead by Leonard (Bill Hader) arrives and steals all the birds' eggs. Red seeks advice from a giant eagle (Peter Dinklage) said to be the protector of the island, but the eagle simply delivers a bunch of "crazy talk," so Red has to take matters into his own hands.
The movie artfully incorporates elements of the Angry Birds app and video game into its plotline. A few significant but subtle touches — a Black Sabbath tune plays during the opening scene, and comedians Keegan-Michael Key and Hannibal Buress have cameos — help ensure adults will find the film tolerable as well.