Produced by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” and “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”) and directed by Mike Rianda and Jeff Rowe, “The Mitchells vs. the Machines” centers Katie Mitchell (Abbi Jacobson), a quirky cinephile teenager with big dreams of moving to California. She lives with her ever-supportive mother Linda (Maya Rudolph), who bakes garnish cupcakes with her daughter’s face on them. Katie’s little brother Aaron, a dinosaur fanatic and the person she’s closest to in her suburban household shares raptor claw fist bumps with her.
The movie keeps telling us the Mitchells are "weird but great." But basically, they seem like countless standard sitcom families who bicker and bond, notably over a teen's desire for independence and a clingy parent's separation anxiety. The latter in this case is Katie's father Rick Mitchell (Danny McBride), whose overprotective devotion translates as a lack of faith in his daughter's career goal of becoming a director. When they quarrel on the eve of her departure for film school in California, Rick decides to heal the rift by canceling Katie's flight and rethinking her travel plans as a family road trip in their beat-up '93 burnt orange stick-shift station wagon. It's abundantly clear by this point that for Rianda and Rowe's target audience, 1993 might as well be the Jurassic Age.
“The Mitchells vs. the Machines” is wonderfully boundless when exploring Katie and Rick’s fraught father-daughter dynamic. In a desperate bid to rekindle their relationship, the clumsy father cancels Katie’s plane ticket to college and embarks with the family on a cross-country road trip to her school. Rianda and Rowe score huge, rapid-fire laughs charting the Mitchells’ doomed journey: the dysfunctional collective gets food poisoning at a shady diner, visits a low-rent dinosaur theme park, and squanders every chance at a heartwarming group picture with their penchant for silly arguments. Along the way, Katie and Rick try to reconnect but discover just how far they’ve drifted apart. His sullen expression as he remembers the time his imaginative daughter looked to him as the fixer-dad is the kind of gut punch that lands with blockbuster intensity.
The Mitchells vs. The Machines is a ridiculous, riotous, and relevant adventure fill with great humor and winning sentiment. It's fast-moving and gorgeous to behold, filled with quirks, quips, and a lovably goblin-like pug ("voiced" by IG-famous Doug the Pug). It's a good time for both younglings and elders, delivering an intelligently goofy rush of new animation and old emotion.
Final Score – [8/10]
Reviewed by – Ritika Kispotta
Follow her @KispottaRitika on Twitter (https://twitter.com/KispottaRitika)
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