HOLLYWOOD—I have found myself pleasantly surprised with each entry into the “Trolls” franchise, and that hasn’t changed with the latest flick, “Trolls Band Together.” If the name is not ringing a bell, perhaps the song “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake rings a bell, because that was such a catchy tune. FYI, Timberlake is back to voice Branch in this third outing of the franchise alongside Anna Kendrick, Zooey Deschanel, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Ron Funches, Keenan Thompson and Kunal Nayyar.
If you thought that was enough star power you would be wrong, as we also have voice work courtesy of Kid Cudi, Daveed Diggs, Troye Sivan, Camila Cabello, Amy Schumer, Andrew Rannells and RuPaul. The animated flick delivers plenty of laughs and that is the one thing I appreciate about the franchise; it aims to ensure you get the laughs. This third entry is all about the trolls aligning to save one of their own who has been kidnapped by two wannabe singers kidnapped fake pop stars Velvet (voice of Amy Schumer) and Veneer (voice of Andrew Rannells), who I will admit delivered some scenes that gave me absolute bellyache laughs. The characters are so over the top and just outlandish you cannot help but laugh at them.
Branch (voice of Timberlake) was part of a boyband as a baby with his other brothers John Dory (voice of Eric Andrew), Spruce (voice of Daveed Diggs), Clay (voice of Kid Cudi) and Floyd (voice of Troye Sivan). The clash of egos led the band to breakup and Branch to be raised by his grandmother.
At the core the flick really tackles the dynamic of family and how we all bicker, but at the same time family is family and you unite when you have to for common goals. Poppy (voice of Anna Kendrick) is alongside Branch’s side as she helps him locate his brother, all the while making a bit of a discovery herself that she never expected; she has a sister. Her sister happens to be a cookie cutter of Poppy, Viva (voice of Camila Cabello). If you thought one Poppy was too much, just imagine having two of them.
We also have the return of Bridget (voice of Zooey Deschanel) and Gristle (voice of Christopher Mintz-Plasse), who provide some comic relief and happen to be a threat to Viva who doesn’t believe Bergens can be reformed. Aside from the narrative, the songs are the best element of the movie. You have iconic tunes like “Sweet Dreams,” “Fame,” “Good As Hell,” “Candy Girl,” the new NSYNC tune “Better Place” and so many other iconic tunes from the past and the present.
“Trolls Band Together” entertained on a larger level than I ever imagined, and I laughed out loud more times that I expected. It is pure family fun at its best.