Little Monsters review – infuriatingly awful family film is worse than AI

Estimated read time 2 min read

Made in Russia in 2022, this animated flick has been dubbed in American English for global release, but it seems unlikely that it made much difference one way or another to what is a hectic, charmless and generally annoying piece of family entertainment.

The storyline concerns Finns, a sort of house-elf or goblin, whose stated narrative function is to help human households run more efficiently, and whose function in practice is to be incredibly irritating. The most infuriating one is our hero, Finnick, who, in addition to a grating array of Scooby-Doo style non-verbal vocalisations, comes out with lots of lines that have the cadence of a witticism without actually being funny. You know the sort of thing: “I can’t believe I signed up for this!” or “Where do my tax dollars go?” It’s the brand of sub-Garfield humour whereby the idea of a furry critter paying or indeed being aware of the concept of tax dollars poses fraudulently as a rib-tickler.

It’s the same one-note deal throughout. In a scene set in a cinema, a nameless character gripes to their companion, “Did you have to forget the popcorn?”, upon which the entire cinema is flooded with popcorn, providing the opportunity for the character to quip, “This is just excessive!” to mirthless, deadening effect. It wouldn’t be so bad if this style of quasi-self-aware snarky dialogue was restricted to one misfiring character, but it’s more or less the entire offering – a villain who screeches “This calls for an evil laugh” before doing an evil laugh is perhaps the nadir, but it’s all bad.

This is a prime example of the kind of film that AI should be able outdo already, or which indeed may actually be the work of a computer – an evil one, hellbent on infuriating humanity into submission.


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