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Ron's Gone Wrong


Stars: Voices: Jack Dylan Grazer, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Olivia Colman, Kylie Cantrall, Rob Delaney, Justice Smith, Ruby Wax

Director: Sarah Smith, Jean-Philippe Vine

Although released by Disney, this is not a Pixar animation but a Twentieth Century Studios film in conjunction with British company Locksmith. It's bright and jolly and mildly satirical about a hi-tech future, but it just lacks that little bit of extra Pixar-style magic to set it apart from the crowd.

It's also too long and the little girl across the aisle from me was visibly bored.

It's the not-too-distant future and Barney (Grazer) is a friendless schoolkid living with his inventor father (Helms) and gigantic mittel-European grandmother (Colman). All the other children at school have bubble-bots or 'b-bots', tubby, egg-shaped robots, which assimilate everything about their owner and are their 'best friends out of the box'.

Barney's dad can hardly afford his son a b-bot, but on a visit to the factory that makes them, Grandma buys one that literally fell off the back of a lorry from a sharpster.

Problem is that 'Ron', a white bot that looks like Wall-E's lost love, has, apart from having his innards discombobulated in the fall, not been digitally set up properly, and so malfunctions in various amusing ways - though he does beat up the school bully for Barney, and develops some human traits.

'I've never programmed bots to laugh,' howls the company's child-hating deputy chairman (Delaney), soon beset by the pesky rogue bot. 'And how can you love from off line? It's against human nature.'

Ron himself is ultimately cute and quite endearing (he saves Barney from freezing to death in thick woods when the pair run away together), although you might side with Barney when he shouts 'You are so annoying!' earlier in the film.

The basic concept, in fact, does wear thin very quickly, and Ron is, in the final reckoning, no match for Wall-E in the 'adorable' stakes.

David Quinlan

USA/UK/Canada 2021. UK Distributor: Disney (Twentieth Century Studios). Colour (unspecified).
106 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 15 Oct 2021