Last year, Netflix delivered quite the charming and touching animated Christmas movie with Klaus. This year, they’re digging into animation again, this time with the promising quirky comedy The Willoughbys, based on the children’s book of the same name by Newberry Award-winning author Lois Lowry.
If this is your first time hearing about The Willoughbys, whether in the form of a book or an animated feature film, don’t worry. Netflix has released a The Willoughbys clip featuring Ricky Gervais as the voice of a cat who seems to be well-versed on the titular family. In the clip, he explains the long legacy of the family, including their impressive facial hair, before giving us a rundown of the kids the story focuses on.
The Willoughbys Clip
From the animation to the comedic tone, I’m liking what we’re seeing here. It has the same vibe as The Royal Tenenbaums, but just more family friendly. It’s got the same dry kind of humor and stylized presentation. Even the animation feels quirky with something that feels like a three-dimensional hybrid of stop-motion and hand drawn animation. Much like Klaus, it’s a nice change of pace from the typical polished computer animation we see from major studios.
The Willoughbys also has an impressive voice cast that includes Grammy-winning singer Alessia Cara as Jane, Will Forte (Scoob!) as Tim, Vincent Tong (Sausage Party) as the Barnabys, Ricky Gervais (The Little Prince) as Cat, Maya Rudolph (Big Hero 6) as Nanny, Terry Crews (Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2) as Commander Melanoff, Martin Short (Frankenweenie) as Father and Jane Krakowski (Open Season) as Mother.
The film is directed by Kris Pearn (Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2), who also co-wrote the script with Mark Stanleigh, and co-directed by Rob Lodermeier.
In The Willoughbys, convinced they’d be better off raising themselves, the Willoughby children hatch a sneaky plan to send their selfish parents on vacation. The four siblings then embark on their own high-flying adventure to learn how to adapt their old-fashioned values to the contemporary world as they try to find the true meaning of family.
The Willoughbys arrives on Netflix on April 22, 2020.
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