Pixar's imaginative and beautiful "Inside Out" takes the idea of being controlled by your emotions and crafts a wonderful family-friendly tale of adventure and finding your happiness.
Young Riley (voiced by Kaitlyn Dias) has a wonderful life in Minnesota, playing hockey, hanging with her friends and loving her family. Inside her head, the smiley girl is controlled mostly by her Joy (Amy Poehler), creating warm, fuzzy memories. Joy's joined by Riley's other emotions -- Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Fear (Bill Hader). The mind is a complex place, and this Pixar interpretation is no different. Experiences generate memories -- different colored marbles that are stored and help build personality.
When Riley's dad gets a new job in San Francisco, the family is off to the City by the Bay to an empty house, a new school and no friends.
Joy is having a hard time keeping Riley smiling, and it's not surprising that Sadness is getting more involved in Riley's life. The ever-hopeful Joy tries to wrestle control back from Sadness and they're both knocked out of the control room, setting them off on an adventure to get back while the remaining emotions are left to control Riley, who is increasingly combative with her parents.
Meanwhile, with her emotions out of control, Riley's falling apart inside, literally.
As directed by Pete Doctor ("Up") and Ronnie Del Carmen, "Inside Out" is a fun, heartfelt and adventurous treat.
Some of the scripting, particularly the jokes, are a bit telegraphed, and the general concept is similar to the Fox sitcom "Herman's Head," which ran from 1991-94, where the title character is controlled by personified aspects of his psyche.
But Pixar's execution of the idea behind "Inside Out" is a charming film that will bring you much joy, and just a touch of sadness. But what's a Pixar film without a few perfect tears?