The story of Barney, an awkward middle-schooler and Ron, his new walking, talking, digitally-connected device. Ron's malfunctions set against the backdrop of the social media age launch them on a journey to learn about true friendship.
Derivative of several films that have done similar things much better in recent years; Big Hero 6 and The Mitchell’s v’s the Machines spring to mind, amongst others. But it’s well voiced and animated, and gets a few reasonable social commentary digs in during its formulaic runtime. Pleasant, if not outstanding.
The last third is less enjoyable than the rest; it's here that the film pivots from being a fun hang-out movie to something a lot plottier. I also found its psuedo-emotional ending beat to be extremely unconvincing. But on the whole, this is funny, occasionally sweet, and entertaining. In the canon of animated films about lonely children and their unexpected new friend, this isn't up to snuff with The Iron Giant or Lilo & Stitch, but it's a good one and deserves a little love.
I wanted to like it so much, but it's so...bland. There are fun moments but theme of "just put down your phone & have friends IRL" is so boomer. 1st 1/3 focused way too much on family weirdness (& is this racist toward Bulgarians?). Villain and adults are so cartoony (ha). Could have ended 30 mins earlier after Ron pulls Barney out of the forest. Poop girl is catchy. Overall there's a good concept if they lean into the sci-fi horror. Fav scene: I gasped thinking Ron snapped the chicken's neck.