From the house of Ice Age, Ron’s Gone Wrong is why I check to see if an animated movie has a Pixar logo attached to the poster. Ron’s Gone Wrong is as generic as a kid’s film can get. It’s one of those movies that substitutes the same slapstick bit as a joke, to be used, over and over again. When the movie isn’t telling lames jokes, it’s thematically confusing. Whose this intended for outside of children? Sure, you can make something entirely for young kids, but leave that up to Paw Patrol. With Ron’s Gone Wrong, The writers are attempting a social commentary about children’s addiction to smart devices but what they come up with for an ending is hypocritical to its theme.
In this film’s universe, every child owns a B-bot; it’s like an enormous Tamagotchi mixed with an iPhone. The B-bots are catered to a child’s personality utilizing their interests as metadata to purchase more materials. Barney Pudowski (Jack Dylan Grazer) is the neighborhood’s poor kid. His father, Graham (Ed Helms), sells cheap novelty items online to support his mother (Olivia Coleman) and son since his wife’s passing, Don’t worry; the movie doesn’t drown itself in domestic issues, much like how we don’t know why Andy’s mom has always been single in Toy Story. Unfortunately, the family dynamic doesn’t work since everyone is a label more than a character.
Dad is a nerdy, nervous bumbling mess, and Grandma is an out-of-touch old lady from the soviet union. The jokes between the characters are what you’d expect. Dad is Shiah LaBeoufing himself in “no’s” and tripping over everything while grandma wants to sell a goat to you. Barney is your typical loveable kid who has no character flaws whatsoever. His motivations are clear. He’s a kid that wants to fit in. His family is out of touch, causing him to be excluded. But what is unique about Barney? Why should I care about his story? The show’s real star is Ron (Zack Galifianakis), a rejected B-bot whose fate was meant for the garbage yard until Graham picked him up one faithful night. Being the only kid in school without a B-bot, Barney gets picked on a lot. With his malfunctioning toy, Barney has found a new friend and quite a bit of trouble for his community.
Whatever interesting avenues the film could have taken with conscious artificiality is hardly explored. I get it’s a kid’s film, and the filmmakers aren’t aiming to create Blade Runner, but I’d like a little more depth to Ron, whos’ primarily relegated to smashing into other objects for 90% of the picture. The big evil honcho of the film is a carbon copy of Apple CEO Tim Cook. Andrew Morris (Rob Delaney) is only interested in selling B-bots so children can purchase more materials that maximize corporate profits. I’m not sure how that’s an evil plan more than it’s an effective business model. Or, that would have been an effective diabolical scheme if the film didn’t end the way it did.
You’d think the message of the movie would be “it’s the people in our lives that matter the most.” Not so; it’s the things we own that’s important. When the big climactic end reaches its crescendo, the children in this story all keep their robots. So how do things change from the beginning? I guess the B-bots don’t tell the kids to buy anything, thus being their real friends? I have no idea what changed or what I was supposed to learn when the credits rolled. If an adult like me is confused about the movie’s message, imagine how a child will feel. Secondly, how many fake B-bots will Disney sell? The B-bot could be a cash cow for a cartoon that’s supposed to be anti-consumerism. I don’t know what to think other than I could have watched this film next to Minions or Robots and seen the same picture. 20th Century Studios Animation needs an upgrade.