‘Inside Out 2’ Leaves the Lectures Off Screen

Sweet, safe and satisfying, this Pixar sequel should reverse studio's downward trend

It’s back to basics for Team Pixar.

The studio, which could do no wrong for years, is suddenly falling back on sequels to its more popular titles.


If “Inside Out 2” is any indication, it could be the most conservative path from a bean counter perspective. We may not get any future classics, but “Inside Out 2” shows the tried and true is good enough for families starved for appropriate fare.

Faint praise? Perhaps. It’s an upgrade over recent Disney-fied titles.

Inside Out 2 | Official Trailer

Young Riley (Kensington Tallman) still hears voices in her head. Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust and Fear are back from the first film, embodying the youngster’s mood on any given day.

Except there’s something new in Riley’s life, and it’s bound to shake up the emotional world depicted in the first film.


Riley is obsessed with thriving at summer hockey camp, but middle-school-aged pressures keep getting in the way. Should she bond with her favorite gal pals or cozy up to the hockey phenom with the badass streak in her hair?

Can she score enough goals to impress her cranky coach, or will she crumble under the pressure?


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Franchise fans care about one question above all – will Joy and co. keep her kindhearted nature alive while a flood of emotions crashes over her biological shores?

It’s the latter that matters most, of course. Amy Poehler’s Joy leads the way, reminding us how gifted the “Parks and Recreation” alum remains even without any physicality to bump up the gags.

The laughs generated this time around aren’t as big as before. It’s a series of snickers and smiles, from clever wordplay to sly visual gags.


And, as is too common with modern animation, the frantic action often takes the place of sweet, emotional storytelling. The latter is there, often conveyed in Riley’s evolving expressions. Kudos to the animated team that brought such complexity to the pre-teen’s mug.

Still, introducing Anxiety (Maya Hawke) into the girl’s emotional world is a masterstroke. So, too, is avoiding the kind of adult material that has inundated Disney content in recent years.

“Inside Out 2” isn’t woke, assuming you look past the hockey team’s aggressive diversity. It’s like a modern TV commercial but more obvious.

Inside Out 2 Movie Clip - What Do You Mean, We? (2024)

The unabashed scene stealer? Adèle Exarchopoulos as Ennui, the French emotion with the beatnik wardrobe. Kids may not know what Ennui means, but they’ll laugh all the same. The film uses Ennui sparingly, which isn’t true for Embarrassment (Paul Walter Hauser). The new emotion’s one-note shtick grows tired fast.

Powerful lessons abound, from the pitfalls of ignoring old friends to the perils of putting too much pressure on a specific goal or task. Riley’s innate kindness is her super power, not that blistering slapshot.

That’s the sort of universal sentiment that powers family-friendly fare, the kind Pixar once delivered for grateful parents and grandparents.

“Inside Out 2” can’t out-perform its predecessor, but its sweet storytelling will go down easily this summer.

HiT or Miss: “Inside Out 2” expands the original’s canvas, providing a witty look at teen angst.


  1. The first “Inside Out” was the worst film Pixar made prior to going woke (with the execrable “WALL-e” close on its heals). It was full of annoying, shallow characters and the entire premise was the cartoonification of a ‘tween undergoing a mental breakdown. It was atrocious garbage, and how often is a sequel better than the original? Hard pass on that basis alone.

    Besides any of that, Disney doesn’t deserve a penny from customers. They tell us they hate us with everything they do, and I’m not buying Iger’s Trojan-moderation plan for one second. Let it burn.

  2. I’ve actively boycotted Disney for the last four years by trying hard to spend zero dollars on their products. Which made me very sad because Pixar movie lines have embedded themselves in our family culture and conversations since 2004. I was really hoping they’d get back to normal with this movie, and it sounds like they did. I’ll be rewarding them with my dollars at the theater.

  3. Oh my God. People who aren’t white? The horror. Next thing you know they will act like lesbians exist

    1. It’s a wonderful thing that Hollywood now cares about diversity and lets creators of all backgrounds tell stories. It’s also absurd to see the lengths studios like Disney go to virtue signal their faux dedication.

    2. That’s really how you believe people on the right think?
      Expand your social circles and turn off MSNBC, dude.

    3. Nobody has a problem with diversity. But Hollywood’s fake push to pander to the woke DEI schemes are just simply laughable and annoying at the same time. You KNOW they don’t really believe what they put on screen right? Or so you believe movies are real?

    4. As far as trolling goes, this is rank-amateurism. As far as lame straw-manning, only slightly better. Score: 1/10.

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