‘Monsters University,’ reviewed by Marshall Fine


It always seems niggardly to refer to a Pixar film as a great animated comedy. “Animated” seems almost like a pejorative; at a minimum, it seems to diminish the accomplishment of a comedy because, well, aren’t all cartoons funny?

Of course not – you don’t need to be a movie critic to know that. Any parent will tell you that most animated films are pretty dreadful. While it’s possible to create almost perfectly photorealistic images using digital tools, computers can’t find the funny – and neither can the screenwriters of most animated films. So most of what passes for animated comedy will barely make an 8-year-old laugh, let alone an adult.

As “Monsters University” (and its 2001 predecessor, “Monsters, Inc.”) proves, a solid comedy is a solid comedy, no matter how it’s made. While some may dismiss this prequel as a reworking of “Revenge of the Nerds,” it’s actually a college-comedy with smarts, heart and a lot of laughs.

“Monsters, Inc.” was about the alternate universe of monsters who live in Monstropolis, which is powered by the screams of children. Sully (John Goodman) and his pal, Mike (Billy Crystal), were a top scream-producing team who got tripped up when a small child (who wasn’t scared of them) followed them back from her world into theirs, triggering the action of the story.

“Monsters University” is set a decade or so earlier, when Mike and Sully were both freshmen at the titular institution. The college is the dream destination of Mike, who looks like a lime with arms, legs, small horns, a mouth and a single eye. His whole life has built toward matriculating at MU and graduating into the world of professional scarers.

This review continues on my website.

Back to Top