As a rule of thumb, when I'm feeling depressed Pixar movies usually do a good job of cheering me up.
So, fed up over rubbish weather and assorted life matters, I'd hoped Inside Out would lift my spirits.
Given the media saturation and ad budget capable of clearing Greece's debt, chances are you know the story.
Elements of the key characters' personality power them from control rooms overlooking assorted islands, whether it's family, goofball or otherwise.
Two of the key protagonists are Joy and Sadness. The former, as you might expect, is super positive and cheery, while the latter is depressed. Little wonder I wanted to slap her. (I don't normally condone violence against personified cartoon conditions but in this case I'll make an exception).
The first act we see a little Minnesota girl form memories which are stored in different coloured spheres like a huge collection of marbles. She also forms core memories which reside in a special area of her brain, soul, personality, whatever.
After moving to San Francisco, our young heroine is out of her comfort zone and starts experiencing the usual conditions of first world kids dealing with first world problems, like how to get by in one of America's most desirable areas.
The problem is, Sadness winds up infecting some super happy memories so Joy kicks off, and after a convoluted plot twist, she and Sadness are projected miles away from their control room. A bit like Wreck It Ralph.
Getting the core memories back to where they need to be forms the backbone of the story. Which is fine.
Along the way we meet an imaginary character reminiscent of a Dr Seuss creation, and the trio encounter assorted perilous problems to get "home".
Classic story structure then, so why did the movie annoy me so much?
Was it the fact the 'Inside' characters looked so generic and uninspired?
Was it the plastic character ears which looked like they'd not been developed since The Incredibles 11 years ago?
Could it be that The Numskulls comic strip had done this all 40 years ago?
All of the above.
It's not a bad movie, and little kids should love it, but, like Finding Nemo, it's essentially an adventure wrapped around a ball of middle aged neuroses.
Can't a kids' adventure just be fun instead of projecting anxiety, fear and grown up traits onto its young heroine?
There is one sucker punch moment in the third act which made it semi worthwhile, but while it wasn't as bad as Cars 2, this was light years away from the Toy Story trilogy and The Incredibles.
Worth a look, especially for that final cat shot, but far from classic Pixar.