BLING is a perfectly sweet, perfectly gentle, and perfectly harmless bit of fluffy animated comedy that will delight kids whose ages fall in the single digits. True love is the theme, and the difficulties of overcoming both self-doubt and Oscar (Jason Kravitz), an evil supervillain, provide the obstacles as mechanical whiz-kid Sam (Taylor Kitsch) spends Valentine’s Day trying propose to his childhood sweetheart, Sue (Jenette McCurdy), the most promising television reporter in town. Those ci-mentioned kids will find a comforting familiarity with the plot that includes a snooty Aunt Catherine (Carla Gugino) and Oscar’s mechanical henchman, Victor (James Woods) whose endless well of malevolence may be as much about his intense attachment to Oscar as to his programming.
The title comes from Aunt Catherine’s advice to Sam when he was a little boy fashioning soda-can pop-tops into a ring to Sue. Only a special (read big) ring for a special girl. Sam takes it to heart, and even though his job as a mechanic at Robo World in Cosmo City doesn’t finance that sort of jewelry, he springs for an expensive ring in order to pop the question to Sue. So does Oscar, though his profession as a super villain has afforded him the funds to buy the biggest ring on offer and, before you can drop to one knee, the two rings have gotten switched without either prospective fiancé noticing. What with Sam planning an extravaganza of a show as the backdrop to his proposal to Sue, and Oscar planning on threatening the welfare of the entire city in order to win his true love, Aunt Catherine.
If Sam and Sue are generically upbeat and perky, Sam’s three animal-shaped robot buddies, the ones who have a penchant for destroying stages when performing Sam’s shows, are the requisite kind of cute. Okra (Tom Green) is an intellectual with killer bubbles, Kit (Jason Mewes) is a ninja spider monkey, and Wilmer (Jon Heder) has weapons-grade farts. Much more interesting are Oscar, whose stretch limo and outsize personality compensates for all manner of personal shortcomings, and Victor, whose sensitivity and unrequited affection for Oscar is not just deep, it borders on a codependent and inappropriate variety of bonding. It’s also the most entertaining thing in the flick for adults watching with their little ones. The animation, though, is bright and lovely, full of cuddly characters, mechnical minotaurs, and irresistible rolling balls of robot wrath. The endless series of chase sequences may have more energy than originality, but do a fine job of putting the two rings in many kinds of cliff-hanging peril.
There is nothing in the way of doubt about how BLING will turn out. It’s the journey to get there, with a few nice songs, a few laughs, and a whole lot of spirit that counts.