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“Inside Out 2” Review: Intense Anxiety Leads to Joy in Sequel to 2015 Film

Hi everyone!

Pixar’s “Inside Out 2” officially releases in theaters today! I have a short review to share. We previewed the film last night in 3D, which was a nice bonus. It has been quite some time since we’ve seen a movie that way.

Joy, Disgust and Anger confront Anxiety in "Inside Out 2"

Photos copyright Pixar

“Inside Out 2” is the continuation of the original Pixar movie that released nearly 10 years ago, which showed Riley as a preteen. In “Inside Out 2”, she hits full-blown puberty (in a big way) and new emotions arrive with it: Anxiety (Maya Hawke), Ennui, Embarrassment and Envy. There are also other traits (like sarcasm) that pop up.

Riley’s starts grappling with this awkward time of her life while attending a 3-day hockey camp with her best friends. Her love of ice hockey was prevalent through the original “Inside Out” and it is reinforced here as she hopes to make the team. Her parents figure into the story, but much less than the first film – the Family Island has gotten smaller as Riley’s friendships – new and old – and hockey take precedence.

Anxiety, Envy and Embarrassment in Inside Out 2"

The original five emotions – Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Tony Hale (Fear), Liza Lapira (Disgust) and Anger (Lewis Black) are still running things pretty smoothly when the new emotions show up, resulting in a power play (to use a hockey and life term) that upsets the balance that is necessary. I knew from the trailers that Anxiety would be a big part of Riley’s life and she is an emotional whirlwind. The other emotions are not as intense (my favorite new emotion though is Embarrassment, who makes some good plays of his own).

I don’t want to post any real spoilers here, but “Inside Out 2” is a film about friendships, making choices and navigating an often difficult time of life. It is also a fun adventure film that includes even more new characters (Pouchy – the talking fanny pack with dynamite – is another favorite). And Joy, voiced by Amy Poehler, is still the heart of this group. There is a profound moment in the film where Joy says, “I don’t know how to stop Anxiety. Maybe this is what happens when you grow up, you feel less joy”. 

Amy Poehler just breathes so much life into the character, and Phyllis Smith as Sadness is also such a wonder.

Embarrassment, Anxiety and Envy in "Inside Out 2"

“Inside Out 2” can be very funny, but the film elicits more emotions than that as the story progresses.

Stay for the end credits scene. And check out our article with video about the “Inside Out 2” concept art and maquette display currently at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

This is the second film from Pixar in the past few years dealing with puberty – “Turning Red” was all about that time of life. And “Luca” features characters who are just about to reach that stage. All three are very much about friendships as well and I recommend them. Pixar continues the current trend of excellent films that also includes “Elemental” and “Soul”.

Mousesteps Grade for “Inside Out 2”: B+

Find out more about “Inside Out 2” with a link to tickets here.

Check out “Inside Out 2” merchandise at the Disney Store here!


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