Inside Out 2

June 14, 202460/1006 min
Starring
Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Lewis Black, Tony Hale
Written by
Dave Holstein and Meg LeFauve
Directed by
Kelsey Mann
Run Time
1h 40min
Release date
June 14th, 2024
Overall Score
Rating Summary

Let’s face it, growing up is hard to do, and I would argue that when your own kid grows up, it is just as difficult. Everyone remembers those emotions running rampant and moods changing, seemingly at a moment’s notice. For about six years, things can be pretty interesting. When Pixar released Inside Out in 2015, we were given a window into the emotions of a young child and how they helped shaped who they were. Now, with Inside Out 2, we reach the level of teenager, so you know this is going to be interesting.

Riley (Kensington Tallman) has reached the pivotal age of 13 and shows herself to be a pretty good person. She has good friends, loves to play hockey, and has a great relationship with her parents. The big “P” is coming though, and with puberty, a whole lot of new emotions are about to be discovered. Joy (Amy Poehler) currently has good control of Riley, but there is a new sheriff in town, and her name is Anxiety (Maya Hawke), and she has other plans for Riley. Anxiety is not the only new emotion, as there is also Envy (Ayo Edebiri) and Embarrassment (Paul Walter Hauser). The original emotions must figure out how to blend in with the new ones on the block. At first, there is an attempt to work together, but soon Anxiety executes a hostile takeover as she tries to navigate Riley’s weekend at a hockey camp. In Anxiety’s eyes, this weekend will determine Riley’s next four years in high school, so for her, it is by any means necessary. To do this, she sends Joy, along with Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger (Lewis Black), Fear (Tony Hale), and Disgust (Liza Lapira), somewhere out of the way. Now it is up to Joy and the original emotions to get back and help Riley be the best person she can be.

Written by Meg LeFauve and Dave Holstein, from a story idea by Kelsey Mann, Inside Out 2 picks up two years after the original ended and does a great job of capturing the adolescent mindset. While the first one packed a strong emotional punch, the teenage years don’t quite reach that level, which isn’t a bad thing considering all the emotions you feel at that time. Awkwardness is king here, as well as anxiety, which only finds traces of the emotional rollercoaster the first film was so full of.

Inside Out 2 ultimately is a worthy sequel, as it had a high bar to reach, which for me, would have been hard to achieve. One thing you always expect with a Pixar movie is that it will look great, and the animation is as beautiful as ever. That shine on the animation is good because some of this film is kind of a mess, but then again life is as well, especially at the age Riley is at. There is some Pixar magic in this one, its aim is true, as it confronts the struggles of anxiety, particularly for teenage girls. Inside Out 2 doesn’t reach the original’s heights, but it is really a sweet movie and one happy head trip for all ages.

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