Review by Lauryn Angel
Ron’s Gone Wrong is the latest film to take on the “kid and robot” trope, with the story of Barney (voiced by Jack Dylan Grazer) as a 12-year-old who feels like he doesn’t fit in with his classmates because he doesn’t have the latest technology craze – a B*Bot. B*Bots are personal robots marketed as “the best friend you’ll ever have.” They like everything their owner does, and they instantly connect with social media, with the goal of making more friends. Barney is the only kid in school who doesn’t have one – mostly because his father (Ed Helms) can’t afford one, but also because Dad doesn’t want Barney to become addicted to technology (even though he can barely stop looking at his phone long enough to give this declaration).
Ultimately, however Barney’s father and his somewhat loony grandmother, Donka (Olivia Colman, who is delightful in the role) decide to buy Barney a B*Bot, but the only one they can afford is a reject that literally fell off the delivery truck. Of course this means that the bot is damaged, and as Barney soon finds out, has “gone wrong.” Zach Galifianakis voices the titular B*Bot, Ron, and his performance is delightful.
The movie is mostly cute, but it fumbles when it tries to deliver a message about technology and social media. The message seems to be that as a society we place too much importance on technology and social media when we should be trying to connect with each other. At least that’s what it seems to be for the first half of the film. By the end of the film, the problem seems to be more with the creators of tech gadgets than with the way we use them. Kids are less likely to catch this than adults, but it begs the question of why it’s addressed at all.
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