Underachieving – the weakest of the Pixar titles. Monsters University has gumption but not the smarts. Entertaining the young tots in the audience, especially those under 8, won’t be a problem. The green one-eyeball Mike (Billy Crystal) and cyan-colored big bear Sully (John Goodman) are the kind of lovable monsters a young person can root for, there will be few complaints from them. But I would challenge any single adult from going to this movie with a “What are you thinking with all the other movie options out there?” type of question.
Yeah, the 2001 “Monsters Inc.” was good enough for anybody, especially fantasy nuts who love scenarios involving doorways to parallel worlds. This sequel is just dishing out scraps. The two monsters in training attend Monsters University, a school for scaring. Mike’s first friend is his roommate Randy (Steve Buscemi, one of the more amusing voices), a spotted chameleon. But after a semester of hard studying, gentle Mike doesn’t have the chutzpah to be a natural scarer. Sully, a natural scarer, doesn’t have enough of the bookworm in him to pass the class.
The two unlikely friends end up participating in a series of frat-inspired games to prove themselves, a similar plot device in “Revenge of the Nerds.” Come in first place, or get the boot from the Dean (Helen Mirren). Anybody else look at this winged centipede-being Dean Hardscrabble and come up with horrible horror movie imagery? Oh, it could just be me.
Previous Pixar movies put on the thinking cap, and here we have one that is carelessly without it. Even the middle drawer “Brave” and “Cars 2” generated double entendre jests, to rouse both the kids and adults. The strictly kiddie fare “University” will serve as an effective babysitting tool, nothing more.
107 Minutes. Rated G.
FAMILY MOVIE / GOOFY / WEEKEND FAMILY MOVIE
Film Cousins: “Revenge of the Nerds” (1984); “PCU” (1994) “Monsters Inc.” (2001); “Monster House” (2006).