Entertainment Entertainment Movies

Review: In Old West of 'Rango,' obnoxious humor hangs fun animation out to dry

** (out of four)

Lonely lizard Rango (voiced by Johnny Depp) tumbles out of the family car and into a desert animal society suffering a terrible drought. Since he has a big attitude but not any actual personality, Rango pursues friendships by scamming his way to a gig as the town sheriff, resulting in yet another family movie about a hero who lies about a phony accomplishment and has to eventually prove his toughness.

The buzz: The commercial for this blissfully not-3D movie has a couple laughs, though viewers of all ages who heard Ned Beatty voice the deceptively huggable evil bear in “Toy Story 3” will be immediately suspicious when hearing Beatty voice the town of Dirt’s turtle mayor. This also may not really be fresh territory for Depp, who’s his same quirky self even as a chameleon in a Hawaiian shirt.

The verdict: Well, visually “Rango” looks excellent. Then characters start talking. So what might have been a delightful short and/or silent film becomes an incredibly busy pest of a comedy, leaning on easy jokes (sheesh, a “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” reference and the 10 billionth joke mistaking “thespian” for “lesbian”) and a misguided belief in its own cleverness. “Rango” fires a lot of bullets, but it evokes only tumbleweeds.

Did you know? A mariachi band of owls narrates the story as if Rango’s tale was some sort of legend, but their charm lasts only one scene. In the wake of the excruciating “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’hoole,” it’s officially time to leave owls out of animated movies.

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Fridays at 7 a.m. on WCIU, the U

mpais@tribune.com

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Best new movies

    Best new movies

    Reviews of recent favorites like 'Mad Max: Fury Road,' 'Welcome to Me,' 'Clouds of Sils Maria,' 'While We're Young,' 'Woman in Gold,' 'Insurgent,' 'It Follows,' 'The Hunting Ground,' 'Focus,' 'What We Do in the Shadows,' 4-star 'The Last Five Years,' 'McFarland, USA,' 'Girlhood,' 'Mommy,' 4-star...

  • Shrug-worthy new movies

    Shrug-worthy new movies

    'Lambert & Stamp,' 'Avengers: Age of Ultron,' 'Adult Beginners,' 'True Story,' 'Ex Machina,' 'Desert Dancer,' 'Furious 7,' '5 to 7,' 'Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief,' 'Danny Collins,' 'The Gunman,' ''71,' 'Maps to the Stars,' 'Bluebird,' 'The DUFF,' 'Kingsman: The Secret Service,'...

  • Good movies to rent now

    Good movies to rent now

    See what recent DVD releases are worth your time and money. Don't rent? Check out the newest movies to stream here.Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page. 

  • Hot Hollywood interviews

    Hot Hollywood interviews

    The most memorable quotes from our latest movie Q&As, including Ethan Hawke, Aubrey Peeples, Nick Kroll, Michiel Huisman, Freida Pinto, Dan Savage, Joel McHale, Noah Baumbach, Veronica Roth, Margot Robbie, Bella Heathcote, Kevin Costner/Anthony Mackie, Sienna Miller, Emily Ratajkowski, David Oyelowo/Ava...

  • Worst new movies

    Worst new movies

    The recent awfulness we've seen, like 'Pitch Perfect 2,' 'Hot Pursuit,' 'The D Train,' 'The Squeeze,' 'The Longest Ride,' 'Get Hard,' 'Serena,' 'Cinderella,' 'Run All Night,' 'The Lazarus Effect,' 'Hot Tub Time Machine 2,' 'Fifty Shades of Grey,' 'Jupiter Ascending,' 'Seventh Son,' 'The Boy Next...

  • High school junior charged with posting threats on Snapchat

    High school junior charged with posting threats on Snapchat

    A high school junior is being held without bail after allegedly posting violent threats in a Snapchat video.

  • Illinois Senate passes marijuana decriminalization bill but plans changes

    Illinois Senate passes marijuana decriminalization bill but plans changes

    The Illinois legislature joined the movement to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of pot, passing a measure Thursday that would bar arrest for the offense.

  • Riot Fest offers ticket refunds after venue change

    Riot Fest offers ticket refunds after venue change

    A day after announcing a venue change, Riot Fest organizers sent an email on Thursday to people who purchased early bird tickets, notifying them that the tickets will be honored at its new home in Chicago's Douglas Park and offering a full refund until Monday if they no longer want to go to the...

Comments
Loading