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Video game adaptation 'Angry Birds Movie' can't quite find its wings
Matilda (Maya Rudolph) peacefully channels her anger in Angry Birds." - photo by Josh Terry
THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE 2 stars Voices of Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Bill Hader; PG (rude humor and action); in general release

The Angry Birds Movie isnt too bad for a movie based on a video game. But it isnt too good, either.

For the uninitiated, Angry Birds is a game that the masses played on their cellphones a couple of years back. The idea is to launch the projectile the Angry Bird via slingshot at a variety of little green pigs and their various primitive structures.

Luckily Angry Birds isnt an hour and a half of watching animated flightless birds careen into wooden posts. Directors Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly have tried their best to turn the game into a crafted narrative.

What they came up with is a story about a bird named Red (voiced by Jason Sudeikis). Red has anger management issues and cant seem to catch a break in life. Like the other birds on his island, he cant fly, but he also cant hold a job, keep friends or control his temper.

After a particularly nasty episode at a birthday party he was the hired clown Red is sent to anger management class, where he meets Chuck (Josh Gad), Bomb (Danny McBride) and Terence (a grunting Sean Penn). Their instructor Matilda (Maya Rudolph) seems to be suppressing issues of her own, but thats another matter.

While these guys are trying to work out their deep and penetrating rage issues, the island gets some visitors: a group of green pigs led by the bombastic Leonard (Bill Hader). Red is the only one who harbors any suspicions for the green invaders until they try to make off with the islands collection of eggs.

Thus, Angry Birds becomes a quest to rescue the birds unborn children from the evil pigs, who live on their own island in a community that is sufficiently vulnerable to catapulted projectiles. To enhance the story, Red also tries to enlist the help of Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage), the one bird on the island who can fly, though no one has seen or heard from him in years.

The plot is pretty simple. The real question is can it entertain the kids, and the answer depends on how receptive your children are to gyrating dance sequences set to covers of old pop standards. This seems to be the go-to move in Angry Birds, though never for more than a few seconds at a time. Every character in the Angry Birds universe is constantly mugging for attention and laughs, assaulting the audiences senses in a 21st-century, 3-D fury.

Angry Birds also seems determined to set some kind of record for using puns in a feature-length film, peppering the effort with twists of dialogue and numerous visual gags, such as a theater poster on the pig island advertising Kevin Bacon in Hamlet.

It has its moments, but you may decide that given the quality of Angry Birds competition, this particular game-turned-film isnt quite worth the price of admission. Some parents may also squirm at an extended urination joke that introduces Mighty Eagle, drawn out for maximum awkwardness.

But given that most of what you see will be forgotten less than 24 hours after viewing, people will ultimately remember the game far better than anything they remember about The Angry Birds Movie.

The Angry Birds Movie is rated PG for rude humor and action; running time: 97 minutes.
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