Friday, May 7, 2021

Netflix’s ‘The Mitchells vs. the Machines’ turns out to be quirky fun

By Matt Pascarella

Rated: PG

Run time: 1 hour, 53 minutes

Every family has its challenges. For the Mitchells, their greatest challenge was the robot apocalypse. I wasn’t expecting the robot apocalypse to happen so soon, but this offbeat, action family film was a good time.

Most families have a lot of strengths, but Katie Mitchell (Abbi Jacobson) explains her family only has weaknesses. They are brave, hungry and have no idea what they are doing as you see their station wagon swerving around a parking lot.

Let’s back up to a few days earlier. Katie says she always felt different and never fit in. She’s really into art and making movies. She says her brother, Aaron (Michael Rianda) gets her. Her mom, Linda (Maya Rudolph) is encouraging and her dad, Rick (Danny McBride) is an unusual man who doesn’t really share her interests. Katie and her dad fight a lot – it’s reflected in their many attempts at a family portrait.

When Katie gets into film school, she can’t wait to go. Her dad is hesitant about her going. The night before she leaves, the two get in an argument and Katie’s computer breaks. In order to make up for this, Rick decides he and the family are going to drive Katie to school. Katie is not thrilled about this decision because it means she’ll miss orientation.

Meanwhile, there is a technology company, PAL, whose CEO, Mark Bowman (Eric Andre), is announcing a life-size robot assistant. He assures everyone that they will not turn evil. However, the name of this movie is “The Mitchells vs. the Machines” so, while I don’t want to give anything away, I think you can piece together what happens.

On the road trip to school, the bonding between Katie and her dad is not going well. They stop at a dinosaur road stop where chaos ensues. “What would a functional family do?” Linda asks.

Humanity is breaking down, but the Mitchells haven’t. They come up with a plan and start executing it. There is still some tension between Katie and her dad. Despite the Mitchell’s efforts to protect themselves, they get discovered. They are at the mall and need to escape.

The Mitchells need to take a chance. PAL is onto the Mitchells. While at the mall, they are met by a giant, popular (at the time), vintage toy. When they try to defeat it, things don’t go as planned. The Mitchells come up with a different plan; this one is high stakes and one wrong move could be serious trouble.

Katie goes to save humanity. Can she do it? Will she get to film school? Does her film school still exist?

This was a sweet, fun movie about family and killer robots that I would recommend. While it is animated, I think both kids and adults will enjoy it. It’s action packed with a star-studded cast. Even talk show host Conan O’Brien lends his voice to a character.

All the struggles that families might have I found relatable. It’s very funny with many jokes and Easter eggs, or hidden jokes, to look out for. 2-three Robertson head non-slip screwdrivers up. <

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