Sweet 'Christopher Robin' has impressive voice work

( PG ) ( Monitor Movie Guide )

The film takes a while to get going.

Laurie Sparham/Disney/AP
'Christopher Robin' stars (from l.) Bronte Carmichael, Ewan McGregor and Hayley Atwell.

“Christopher Robin" has the misfortune to come out the same year as “Paddington 2,” one of the best stuffed animal movies ever made. It takes awhile to get going but, still, it’s rather sweet. Ewan McGregor plays the grown-up Christopher Robin of A.A. Milne’s “Winnie-the-Pooh” books fame. Christopher grew up in the Hundred Acre Wood with his loquacious stuffed animal friends but has moved into uneasy adulthood in London, working a drudge job as efficiency manager for a luggage factory and skimping on quality time with his exasperated wife (Hayley Atwell) and daughter (Bronte Carmichael). Circumstances bring him back to the Wood, where he reconnects with his buddies, at first grudgingly but then wholeheartedly, as they accompany him back to London and redirect his life into a newfound happiness.

The voice work of the animals is more impressive than the CGI effects that bring them to life – all the more reason to enjoy Brad Garrett’s gloomy donkey Eeyore, Jim Cummings' fetchingly befuddled Winnie the Pooh, and Toby Jones’s occasionally wise Owl. Marc Forster, who directed from a script by Alex Ross Perry, Tom McCarthy, and Allison Schroeder, doesn’t have an especially fanciful imagination, but he keeps things moving along at a fairly brisk pace. The film’s message is that there is more to life than balloons and honey, but you could have fooled me. Grade: B (Rated PG for some action.)

[Editor's note: The review originally did not list two of the credited screenwriters for the movie "Christopher Robin."]


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