Starring: Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks (voices)
Director: Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane
Rating: PG for mild thematic elements
Playing at: Regal Bowling Green Stadium 12, Highland Cinemas (Glasgow), Franklin Drive-In
The gang from “Finding Nemo” is back in “Finding Dory,” Pixar’s follow-up to the beloved 2003 hit that will surely satisfy the fan base.
This isn’t a top-level entry into the Pixar universe, but it is still miles above most of the other films in the genre.
“Dory” picks up about a year after the original, with Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) – the uber-hyper blue tang fish who suffers from short-term memory loss – suddenly remembering how she was separated from her parents as a child.
Dory sets out to find her parents, with friend Marlin (Albert Brooks) and his son Nemo (Hayden Rolence) by her side.
Their adventure eventually leads to a Marine Life Institute, where they make new acquaintances and unlock the key to Dory’s past.
Shifting the focus from Marlin and Nemo to Dory is a little bit of a risk, with Dory’s pattern of behavior more suited in short doses as a sidekick, but “Finding Dory” finds a way to make her the focus without overexposing the fish’s schtick.
It’s partly done by giving Marlin and Nemo plenty of time as well, with dual storylines going at the same time. There are also clever introductions of new characters – including Ed O’Neill as a crusty octopus – as well as a fun running joke involving Sigourney Weaver.
The animation is crisp and the visuals are sharp as this world comes to life on the big screen.
There’s also a nice little message about family, with a bit of a build to an emotional setup in the final act.
“Dory” does seem to overstay its welcome a little bit longer than needed, with the story spinning its wheels at one point, but that emotional payoff makes amends for the minor stumble, making this a pleasantly amiable sequel.
Also in theaters
If you are looking for something for the older crowd, “Central Intelligence” (B-) might be what you seek.
This action comedy is a likable enough summer popcorn flick, with comedian Kevin Hart and wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne Johnson proving to be a pretty entertaining team.
Hart plays Calvin, a mild-mannered accountant who longs for his high school days when he was the most popular kid in school.
Calvin’s world gets turned upside down when he accepts a Facebook friend request from Bob (Johnson). During high school Bob was bullied by classmates, although he never forgot the time that Calvin stood up for him. That one event convinces Bob that Calvin is the only person he can truly trust, so Bob – now an agent with the CIA – enlists Calvin’s help to stop the sale of nuclear missile codes.
The story is kind of silly, but it serves as a nice setup to get Hart and Johnson together.
Johnson has shown the ability to play an action hero, but he gets to do something a little different here – play a nerdy, shy guy who has blossomed into this CIA agent. There is something funny about Johnson wearing unicorn shirts and jorts while awkwardly trying to socialize.
Hart is the type of comedian who tends to sometimes jump the rails, but he is held in check here, mostly taking a back seat to Johnson’s character. It’s a welcome change for Hart, who is toned down enough to play to his comic strengths as well.
Seeing the pair interact with the likes of Amy Ryan, as well as a few cameos best left unspoiled, proves to be more fun than I expected.
“Central Intelligence” isn’t going to be on anyone’s list of the best films of the year, but it is definitely a good way to spend a lazy summer night – especially if you want to laugh.
“Central Intelligence” is rated PG-13 for crude and suggestive humor, some nudity, action violence and brief strong language and is now playing at the Regal Greenwood Mall Stadium 10 and Highland Cinemas in Glasgow.
— To read Micheal Compton’s review of “Dark Horse” and get his thoughts on other films, visit his blog at bgdailynews.com/blogs/reel_to_reel or on Twitter @mcompton428. Email him at email@example.com.