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The Willoughbys

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Canada · 2020
Rated PG · 1h 32m
Director Kris Pearn
Starring Will Forte, Maya Rudolph, Alessia Cara, Terry Crews
Genre Animation, Comedy, Family

Convinced that they would be better off raising themselves, the Willoughby children hatch a sneaky plan to send their selfish parents on vacation. The siblings, along with their nanny, then embark on their own high-flying adventure to find the true meaning of family.

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What are critics saying?


The New York Times by

Though it tends to feel disjointed as a whole, The Willoughbys thrives when it embraces its grim plot and lets mischief reign.


The Playlist by Asher Luberto

This Netflix film works overtime trying to be flashy without bothering to create characters worth rooting for, and its long run time won’t do bored parents any favors.


The Globe and Mail (Toronto) by Barry Hertz

Parents might get more of a kick out of the voice-casting and darker corners of the story than school-aged children. But Vancouver’s BRON Animation studio provides a strong, often beguiling sense of tyke-hypnotizing flair to the visuals, and the zippy, synthy score by Wes Anderson favourite Mark Mothersbaugh should keep kids bouncing up and down, in a good way.


The Guardian by Benjamin Lee

While The Willoughbys might not boast the slick structure or beating heart of a Pixar animation, there’s enough offbeat charm to make it an easily digestible watch and for any concerned parents, the practice of “orphaning” involves so much work, your kids will likely be scared off.


San Francisco Chronicle by G. Allen Johnson

With a sense of eccentric macabre that recalls Roald Dahl and Charles Addams, The Willoughbys arrives on Netflix with a winning, eclectic energy that should have kids — like the animated moppets in the film — bouncing off the walls. In a good way, of course.


IndieWire by Kate Erbland

The Willoughbys is different — or, perhaps, just different enough to stand out, as it sends up the vast assortment of kiddie stories about missing, dead, or just plain bad parents, and finds something fresh and funny in the process.


Original-Cin by Liam Lacey

Fans of cynically funny children's entertainment in the vein of Roald Dahl or Lemony Snicket’s Daniel Handler should glean some fun out of the new Netflix animated movie, The Willoughbys, an energetic and semi-imaginative comedy about an appalling family.


Los Angeles Times by Michael Ordona

The film’s bright colors and blaring happy music may not be enough for viewers to overcome the rather unfunny themes of neglect (“Back up the abuse caboose”) routinely excused in more engaging fare.

75 by Monica Castillo

The movie practically sparkles in scenes at Melanoff’s candy factor, where the rainbow motif is woven throughout the space and even onto Melanoff’s commander jacket, which is topped off with candy buttons and cupcakes on his shoulders.


Variety by Peter Debruge

While The Willoughbys might not be very original, its novelty comes through in the delivery and execution, owing to a witty screenplay (by Pearn and Mark Stanleigh) that combines nimble wordplay with highly compressed, well-paced plotting.

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