Home News ‘Inside Out 2’ review: Old emotions make new frenemies in excellent sequel

‘Inside Out 2’ review: Old emotions make new frenemies in excellent sequel



Remember at the end of 2015’s acclaimed “Inside Out” when the emotions operating within a 12-year-old girl were introduced to a mysterious button on their big, new control console marked “Puberty”?

Early on in “Inside Out 2,” as Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust sleep within newly minted teenager Riley — Anger is, of course, fighting someone in his dream — a beeping sound begins to emanate from the button.

Then a full-blown siren.

This is not a drill, people, er, emotions!

Yes, Riley, now voiced by Kensington Tallman, enters into that confusing — and highly emotional — time in a young person’s life in this excellent sequel from Disney’s Pixar Animation Studios.

Riley’s still a good kid when “Inside Out 2” begins, which is a source of pride for Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust and Fear, voiced, respectively, by returnees Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith and Lewis Black and newcomers Liza Lapira and Tony Hale. She loves her mom and dad (fellow “Inside Out” alums Diane Lane and Kyle MacLachlan) and playing hockey with besties Grace (Grace Lu) and Bree (Sumayyah Nuriddin-Green), with whom she collaborates on the winning goal in a championship game.

That triumph is followed by the trio being invited to a three-day hockey camp that will be populated by players from the high school level. If they impress the coach (Yvette Nicole Brown), she may offer them spots on the team!

The morning the camp starts, that siren is blaring within Riley. As her emotions try to gently tap the right buttons on the console, Riley unleashes on her well-intended mother before entering into a bout of sadness.

Oh boy.

It is then that Riley’s quintet of emotions realizes they have a newcomer among them: Anxiety (Maya Hawke).

She’s, well, a lot — and she’s not alone, bringing with her Envy (Ayo Edebiri), Embarrassment (Paul Walter Hauser) and Ennui (Adèle Exarchopoulos). (The latter is described as a mix of “boredom, disdain or this feeling of blase” by director Kelsey Mann in the movie’s production notes, and Ennui does her job, lazily, via smartphone from a nearby couch.)

As if the new emotions aren’t enough for Riley to deal with, she realizes — in a well-executed scene in which emotions inside different friends examine the way each looks at the other — that Bree and Grace are hiding something from her. When they spill the beans that they’ve been assigned to a different high school from hers for the next school year, Riley — driven by the extremely assertive Anxiety — decides to shut them out and try to impress the older girls, especially her idol, the talented Valentina “Val” Ortiz (Lilimar Hernandez, credited as simply Lilimar).

The old guard of emotions, Joy especially, doesn’t like any of this, and those emotions soon find themselves literally bottled up — suppressed emotions! — thanks to Anxiety, who is increasingly out of control as she tries to navigate Riley through the camp.

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