New British animation studio, Locksmith Animation, first feature-length action comedy centres on introverted loner 13-year-old Barney Pudowski (Jack Dylan Grazer), who’s the only kid in his class who doesn’t own a B-Bot yet. The new range of robotic toys, marketed as your ‘best friend out of the box’, encourage users to share, stream and upload their lives online. When struggling single dad Graham (Ed Helms) surprises Barney with his own B-Bot, they discover that there’s more than meets the eye to the seemingly malfunctioning robot Ron (Zach Galifianakis)
Much like The Mitchells vs The Machines, writers Peter Baynham and Sarah Smith delve into the effects of technology on relationships in the social media age, along with a brief nod at tech giants corruptly harvesting personal data. It’s a little formulaic but full of heart, shining best when centering on misfits Barney and Ron’s tender and amusing friendship. There’s also plenty of comedy courtesy of Ron’s malfunctions, resulting in a number of hilariously outrageous set pieces – along with a brilliant dial up tone gag.
Grazer channels the social awkwardness of Freddy Freeman from Shazam! in the sweet but lonely underdog role, sharing a fun and heartwarming dynamic with Galifianakis’ ever-learning robot. Like Big Hero 6, Smith and Co. take the time to develop their relationship, with Ron attempting to learn about Barney while figuring out how to become his friend. However, it’s Olivia Colman who regularly steals the show as the hilariously out of control, but fiercely loving, Bulgarian grandma Donka, who often wields a drill (and a goat!)
The animation team combines the cuddly white figure of Baymax with the sleek components of Wall-E’s Eve in the adorable line of capsule B-Bots, which will undoubtedly become the next must-have toy. For Disney fans, there’s also a number of fun (if a little on the nose) nods to their wider IP throughout.
Ron’s Gone Wrong is a sweet and breezy animated story of an unlikely friendship, which celebrates and champions the underdog.
Ron’s Gone Wrong was seen and reviewed at the London Film Festival. It will be in cinemas on 15 October.