An Entertaining Romp: Our Review of ‘Inside Out 2’

Posted in Movies by - June 12, 2024
An Entertaining Romp: Our Review of ‘Inside Out 2’

In Inside Out 2 fans get to see what happens to Riley’s emotions as she gets older and enters puberty. And while the film isn’t groundbreaking, this look at the trials and tribulations of Riley’s personified emotions is still fun!

Directed by long-time Pixar’s creative Kelsey Mann, Inside Out 2 sees a variety of changes for the now-teenage Riley. While she still loves hockey and continues to reside in San Francisco, Riley is developing a mature belief system. And, just as she’s trying to make her new high school’s varsity hockey team, her psyche gets disrupted by the arrival of a slew of new emotions, including Anxiety, Envy, Embarrassment, and my personal favourite, Ennui.

When Anxiety (Maya Hawke) arrives on “Demolition Day” (tiny cartoon construction workers literally come to remodel her mind), she announces herself as Joy’s new antagonist, immediately working to replace Riley’s emotions from childhood. Anxiety defends her actions by insisting, “My job is to prepare her for the scary stuff we can’t see ” Her plan? To help Riley make new friends – and a new hockey team – by changing everything about her, from her hair to her taste in music. Of course, Joy and company believe Riley is great the way she is and doesn’t need a new identity, but Anxiety will not be thwarted: To prevent them from disrupting her plan, she literally bottles up Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust (Yes, the symbolism in this movie is incredibly on-the-nose but that is part of its charm).

Plucky as ever, Joy refuses to be a suppressed emotion for long, and leads a mission to recover Riley’s “Sense of Self,” reclaiming her from Anxiety’s clutches. A foray into the outer reaches of Riley’s mind ensues, complete with a dangerous rafting accident at the teen’s new “SarCHASM,” which is a hilarious play on words, if I’ve ever heard one. Meanwhile, Anxiety is back in The Control Room, obsessing over every horrible thing that might befall Riley in the future, turning the adolescent into a sleep-deprived, insecure mess who keeps repeating her new mantra, “I’m not good enough.”

Because this is the ever-enlightened Inside Out Universe, Inside Out 2 doesn’t completely villify Anxiety. Rather, she must learn, just as Joy did in the first film, that she doesn’t always know best, and all of Riley’s emotions have their essential roles. Does this plot sound repetitive of the first installment? Well, that’s because it is. This sequel’s storyline and message aren’t exactly innovative, but it’s still enjoyable as heck! Who doesn’t want to watch Disgust lust over the silly – but hot – video game character on whom Riley harbours a secret crush? Who isn’t here for Ennui’s droll French accent or Sadness’ adorable propensity for tears?

Even if this franchise doesn’t have anything new to tell us, it’s colourful and action-packed. Sure, some of the new emotions feel a little underdeveloped (Ayo Edebiri is underutilized as Envy), but not every Pixar movie needs to be as perfect as Turning Red. Sometimes, it’s enough to spend time with characters you love in a movie you like…

So load that Presto card and head our to your nearest cinema. Your family won’t regret buying tickets for this delightful caper!

This post was written by
Sarah Sahagian is a feminist writer based in Toronto. Her byline has appeared in such publications as The Washington Post, Refinery29, Elle Canada, Flare, The Toronto Star, and The National Post. She is also the co-founder of The ProfessionElle Society. Sarah holds a master’s degree in Gender Studies from The London School of Economics. You can find her on Twitter, where she posts about parenting, politics, and The Bachelor.
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