The game “Angry Birds” was a landmark because it was one of the very first apps that made people aware of the vast potential of wasting time on their phones.
The game was simple and intuitive enough; you used your finger to pull back on a slingshot that launched birds of various abilities through the air with the goal of knocking over buildings and destroying the villainous, egg-stealing pigs inside of them.
The game was fun, easy, and made waiting to board a flight almost tolerable; but nothing about it screamed “major motion picture.” Of course not like that’s ever stopped anybody.
So now we have “The Angry Birds Movie,” which is about as unnecessary as it sounds. Much like the game itself, it’s mildly amusing, but spending an hour-and-a-half with it means you seriously do not have anything better to do with your time.
The plot they’ve constructed around this paper-thin premise centers on Red (Jason Sudeikis), a social pariah on an idyllic island of cheerful, flightless birds.
Red is angry, sarcastic, and generally unpleasant and is kind of a downer of a character to build your family-friendly movie around.
After one outburst too many, Red is sentenced to an anger management class led by hippy-drippy Matilda (Maya Rudolph). It is there where he meets fellow outcasts like the speedy, less-angry-than-annoying Chuck (Josh Gad) and Bomb (Danny McBride), who is prone to spontaneous combustion.
All is going as well as can be expected until a shipload of pigs, led by the charming Leonard (Bill Hader), arrives and pledges their friendship. Of course, anyone with two seconds of familiarity with the game knows these pigs are up to no good.
Red is the only bird to suspect the pigs aren’t what they seem and he begins to think the only hope the birds might have lies in their mysterious guardian known as Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage).
There are a few inspired moments here and there, but for the most part, it’s hard not to see the cynical calculation of this being nothing more than taking something that is popular and hoping people will pay to watch a movie about it.
None of the characters are all that likable and the moral is a vague glob of acceptance of others’ differences, being yourself, and extolling the virtues of anger, I guess.
While the game is perfect for mundane occasions like sitting in the waiting room at the dentist’s office or throwing at your kids while you wait for a table at a busy restaurant, the entertainment-of-last-resort vibe is not something you want to carry over to a movie.
When all is said and done, “Angry Birds” probably should have just been left in your pocket.
“The Angry Birds Movie” is rated PG for rude humor and action.