Yes, I know that's a big claim to make, but when your film has Lewis Black as an anger-prone...well...red guy, you know this is going to be nothing but fun.
But with the funny antics in this film comes the moving and effectively used message of change in children's lives as they move from one place to another.
This film is not for the faint of heart, especially if you've moved before.
The film takes place (literally) in the head of 11-year-old girl Riley (Kaitlyn Dais), as manifested emotions Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger (Lewis Black), Fear (Bill Hader), and Disgust (Mindy Kalling) help guide the girl throughout her life. There's ups, downs, all-arounds, like every normal day life. That is, until they move from Minnesota to San Francisco, where after an incident where Joy and Sadness get sucked out of Headquarters (Get it?) and need to get back home while Fear, Disgust, and Anger help monitor Riley in their absence. On their way, they come across a literal pink cat elephant (think of that what you will.) called Bing Bong, who was Riley's imaginary friend while she was a toddler, who helps Joy and Sadness get back to HQ.
First, the acting. This is a terrific cast to accompany a family film, and a Disney one at that. Amy Poehler is respectfully energetic in her role as Joy and stands as the film's liveliest character (and she's f**king adorable, in my opinion.) Her jokes always hits bullseyes, she's nicely developed as a character, and is a character 99.9% of the human population can relate to. In fact, the entire cast is completely relatable. We've all had those moments in which we had to leave a place we loved, and it hits us hard, knowing that we'll quite possibly never see our friends there again. And from the perspective of a guy who knows how it feels when we're moving, you know it sucks. The best moments of the movie are from Lewis Black as Anger. He steals the whole show by just acting like Lewis Black usually acts, but it's also a bonus considering that not a whole lot of Lewis Black movies implement his comedic talent that well, and now, here's a movie in which he's legitimately funny. What are the odds?
Second, the animation. In traditional Disney fashion, the characters look adorable. Heck, some look flat-out cute, alongside the afore-mentioned Joy. It's also charming how a lot of the design match the actor's role. For example, Lewis Black played so many easily agonized people in so many comedies, so, naturally, they make Anger look like every second he gets, he could explode, etc. The main charm behind the cast is not just the emotions' designs, but also the liveliness of it. There is never a moment where things go overly gritty or overwhelmingly whimsical, it's just an imaginative look at human life.
Lastly, the film can be quite dramatic at times. Holy Christ on a bicycle, this film is incredibly moving, given the fact that the writing team taps into your childhood really well, you're bound to cry at every moment in the film when you're meant to. Without spoiling anything, there are many scenes after the conflict kicks in that are dramatically hefty, especially when one scene near the end is so heart-wrenchingly realistic. I was literally in tears when that scene kicked in. The message drives this film home, considering that even Anger, Disgust, and Fear are also trying to help the girl, which translates to the fact that without negative emotions, you can't connect with other people and let them help you in times of need. There is no perfect person, there is no perfect emotion, there is no perfect life. Everyone has their moments where things don't go as planned, and, as such, it makes us human. There's not even a villain in this. That's a first for Pixar.
Inside Out is not only one of the best films of 2015, but it also reigns as Pixar's comeback after a three-year slump (Cars 2, Brave, Monsters University) and it's just as powerful as one could imagine.