Now Streaming: THE WILLOUGHBYS, Spry and Delightful Family Adventures

Will Forte, Maya Rudolph, Alessia Cara and Ricky Gervais lead the voice cast in the animated delight, directed by Kris Pearn and now on Netflix.

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Now Streaming: THE WILLOUGHBYS, Spry and Delightful Family Adventures

Oh, I wish my parents would love me. Or at least pretend!

The Willoughbys
Now streaming on Netflix.

Besieged as we are by programming that clamors for the attention of families worldwide, it's a pleasure to sit back and enjoy the silly antics of children whose greatest wish is that their parents pay attention to them.

Of course, the Willoughbys are no ordinary family. Mother (voiced by Jane Krakowski) and father (Martin Short) are completely absorbed in each other and their own idiosyncrasies, to the exclusion of all else. Thus, it's a small wonder that neither pregnancy nor childbirth affects either one of them, leaving their progeny to their own devices, as far as details, such as food, water, and, oh yes, love.

The Willoughby children (led by Will Forte and Alessia Cara) are, somehow, normal human beings, looking out for and caring for each other. Eventually, though, they grow tired of their sufferings and begin to plot how they can rid themselves of their selfish parents.

Permanently, if you know what I mean, and I think you do. (To borrow a phrase from Joe Bob Briggs.)

As a new nanny (Maya Rudolph) arrives, the plans of the children go awry, of course, and soon they are tossed out by their parents, and truly left to fend for themselves, leading to more far-flung adventures.

Spry and delightful, The Willoughbys is based on a same-titled book by Lois Lawry and directed by Kris Pearn, who previously helmed Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 and has more than 20 years of experience in animation. The backgrounds and character designs in the new film are consistently outlandish and amusing to behold, establishing a lovely universe that's as off-kilter as the general sense of humor.

It's not easy for a so-called family film to walk the line between witty and weird, while also captivating adults. The Willoughbys fairly begs for sentimentality, yet it's sufficiently cynical to know that easy answers are not within its province.

Even so, the children are the rare sort who know their place in the universe, and can only wish that their parents and other adults wise up so that order may be restored.

Now Streaming covers international and indie genre films and TV shows that are available on legal streaming services.

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Alessia CaraanimationKris PearnMaya RudolphNetflixRicky GervaisUSWill Forte

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