This animated film about all the confused feelings inside a little girl's head left me with mixed emotions of my own. INSIDE OUT was pleasingly colorful and quite creative, but its 94 minutes went on too long and its story was too focused on the negative. While many critics couldn't shower enough superlatives on the film when it debuted, I'd personally class it as a mid-range Pixar movie. It's worth seeing yet overall my reaction leaned toward disappointment.
Riley has much more trouble handling things when chaos suddenly breaks out among the five little emotions running things inside her head. When Joy (Amy Poehler) is accidentally locked out of the control room and sent far away, Riley's emotions sink ever lower and she contemplates running away from home. Joy and Sadness (Phyllis Smith) struggle to find a way back to the control room, which is being run in their absence by Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), and Fear (Bill Hader).
HEMO THE MAGNIFICENT (1957); it seems rather likely, as Capra's illustration of how the circulatory system works, with a little man with a phone giving out orders, seems like a more primitive version of the concepts in INSIDE OUT.
The movie is initially quite enjoyable, as it unveils a fanciful version of how our brains work and memories are stored. The problem arises when Joy's attempts to get back home, and Riley's corresponding angst, run on far too long. The story is out of balance, with sadness spending too long at the forefront of the story, to the extent I think it's debatable whether the movie would be appropriate for all children. The movie is rated PG for "thematic elements"; I suspect some children may find it more of a downer than a good time.
Another issue is that Sadness is a boring character. She has a couple nice moments of empathy where she succeeds in helping someone, but she speaks in a monotone, is depressed, and is generally not fun to watch. I suppose that's inherent in her character, but I wonder if there could have been a more interesting way to present Sadness. In fact, all of the "emotions" characters are a bit one note because they're just representing one type of feeling; even Joy's super-perkiness eventually becomes a bit grating, though she's never a dull character like Sadness.
The single funniest moment for me was in one of the "tags" during the end credits, showing the inside of a cat's brain; the cat walking over the control panel was hilarious. Though just a few seconds, it was such a dead-on depiction of cat behavior that it left me wanting Pixar to create an entire film about cats!
INSIDE OUT was directed by Pete Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen.