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Movie Review: The Mitchells vs. The Machines is Heartfelt Entertaining Journey

The movies of 2021 have had a slow start. Aside from “Raya and the Last Dragon”, there’s not a whole lot of stand outs. But Netflix’s new animated, action-comedy, “The Mitchells vs. The Machines” is easily one of the best films of the year.

Katie Mitchell (Abbi Jacobson) has felt like an outcast during most her teen years. She spends a lot of her free time making funny, unique videos of her brother Aaron (Michael Rianda) and their dog. Though she has a loving family, she has yet to find “her people” that share her similar artistic interests. Her dad, Rick (Danny McBride), especially seems confused by Katie’s “art” and worries making videos won’t be a profitable way to make a living. This doubt is part of the reason why Katie and her father always butt heads, and no longer have the bond they once shared when she was a little a girl.

As luck would have it, Katie gets accepted to her dream film school. She’s already clicking with her future classmates, and can’t wait to fly off to orientation. But her father has another idea in mind. In order to rebuild their relationship, he cancels Katie’s flight; and plans a surprise road trip for the whole family to spend one last hurrah before they drop Katie off to college. An already bumpy ride turns into a disaster when the newest service of AI robots- known as the PAL go haywire, and all humans are under attack by the robot mercenaries. And somehow, the only people that can now save the world are the Mitchells!

“The Mitchells vs. The Machines” has a lot of shining parts. Directors/Writers Michael Rianda and Jeff Rowe have created a film that is original, clever, funny, touching, and an absolute blast. This is a movie that both kids and adults will connect with and enjoy. Yes, though Katie and her dad have had their arguments, the entire family has drifted by burying themselves in their phones and electronics. Katie’s mom, Linda (Maya Rudolph), is obsessed with other families’ online personas; admiring a life she wished she had. And her brother is obsessed with everything dinosaurs. Rick is the only one in the family who hates technology, and enjoys more of the outdoors. It’s enough to make you think twice before pulling out your phones when you’re spending time with your family.

I know Danny McBride is funny, but this is hands down his best role. He is hilarious and endearing. He’s the parent that we either have or we hope to be. His desire to rebuild his relationship with his daughter is incredibly moving. And his character is only elevated by his on screen wife. Rudolph plays a badass mom who might have some insecurities but she loves her children and will stop at nothing to protect them. Of course, the star of the film, Abbi Jacobson is fantastic. She’s a character you empathize with and root for.

A good number of laughs in the film can be credited to Olivia Coleman who does the voices for the digital villain PAL AI system. She’s snarky, yet serious. The very idea of her character is terrifying, but seeing such a villainess in the form of a phone is extremely comical.

The film never veers off course. From the start you’re immediately engaged by this quirky family, and quickly taken on an exciting adventure. Take in all the gorgeous animation scenery, and enjoy every thrilling stop. “The Mitchells vs. The Machines” is wild and fun ride everyone should take! 

Rating: 5/5

www.netflix.com/TheMitchellsVsTheMachines

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