When it comes to the entertainment industry, the last few years haven’t found Matthew McConaughey being quite as busy as he used to be. After releasing a string of movies in 2019 including Guy Ritchie’s action comedy The Gentlemen, the commercial and critical belly flop Serenity, and a brief turn as himself in Between Two Ferns: The Movie; McConaughey hasn’t been a part of a live-action film or TV series since. But that’s okay, because it isn’t a live-action Matthew McConaughey film that’s currently in the top spot on Netflix, but last year’s animated musical jukebox comedy Sing 2.
Sing 2 finds Matthew McConaughey and a long list of A-list stars voicing talking animals ready to make it in the big city, albeit a fictional one. After the events of 2016’s Sing, Buster Moon — the koala voiced by McConaughey — is doing well in his new theater. But apparently, doing well just isn’t good enough. The talent scout Suki (Chelsea Peretti) assures Buster he could never make it in the Las Vegas-inspired Redshore City, and the koala becomes determined to prove her wrong. To do so, he reunites most of the crooners from the first film. As the heroes old and new prepare for the new show, they are dogged (pun not intended but utterly embraced) by brand new phobias, complex romantic twists, and more than anything by media mogul wolf Jimmy Crystal (Bobby Cannavale).
Like the first film, the Matthew McConaughey led sequel currently dominating Netflix was directed by the duo of Garth Jennings (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) and Christopher Lourdelet (Despicable Me 2), and written by Jennings. Along with the actors already mentioned, the film includes the voice talents of Reese Witherspoon as the newly acrophobic pig Rosita, Scarlett Johansson as punk rocking porcupine Ash, Taron Egerton as the gorilla Johnny, Tori Kelly as the singing elephant Meena, Nick Kroll as the pig Gunter, Pharell Williams as the ice cream selling elephant Alfonso, Halsey as the spoiled wolf Porsha, Letitia Wright as the as the lynx Nooshy, Eric André as the insufferable yak Darius, Adam Buxton as a monkey with perhaps the best name in the movie (Klaus Kickenklober), Peter Serafinowicz as Johnny the gorilla’s father Big Daddy, Jennifer Saunders as a famous sheep crooner, Nick Offerman as Rosita’s pig husband Norman, U2’s Bono as the fading rock star lion Clay Calloway, Julia Davis as the talk show host and horse Linda LeBron, and acclaimed director Spike Jonze as Jimmy Crystal’s feline assistant Jerry.
And just like the first film in the series, Matthew McConaughey’s Netflix topper is filled with new renditions of both pop chart classics and more contemporary fare. Tunes performed in Sing 2 include covers of U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” the late Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy,” Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” and Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love.” From this side of the millennium there’s Billie Eilish‘s “Bad Guy,” the Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face,” and “Heads Will Roll” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
The critical response to Sing 2 is a bit interesting and the good news is that the critics seem to feel that, if nothing else, so far the Sing film series remains consistent. In a rare result, both the first and second films have the exact same critics score on Rotten Tomatoes — 71%. Reviewers seemed to generally feel Sing 2 was entertaining, though a bit overly familiar and not particularly challenging in the story department. Of course, who asked a movie about singing animals to be challenging?
The audience reaction is much more telling as to why the Matthew McConaughey film is topping the Netflix charts. Not only did the Rotten Tomatoes audience score jump from 72% to a near perfect 98% between Sing entries, but the film took home a worldwide ticket sale gross of $407 million. On one hand, that’s $227 million less than its predecessor, but on the other hand 2021’s Sing 2 had the COVID-19 pandemic to contend with whereas its predecessor didn’t. Any movie that could make over $400 million during Covid was doing something right.
You can see for yourself the magic McConaughey and co. create with Sing 2 right now on Netflix.