Review: ‘The Mitchells Vs The Machines’ Brings Hilarious, Family Fun To Netflix

Apr 30, 2021, 7:09 AM | Updated: 7:28 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – No blockbuster movie releases are coming to theaters this weekend, but a new Netflix release is bringing some hilarious, family fun to your TV.

As a parent in the digital age, one of my concerns has been how it feels at times like technology makes us more distant from each other, even when we’re in close physical proximity. I also struggle to figure out the balance between how much screen time my kids should have versus how much screen time they want, and not completely understanding why they’re drawn to some of the apps they like to use. This can lead to occasional friction between us, leaving both my children and I feeling frustrated.

In the new animated film, “The Mitchells vs the Machines,” that’s the very problem that our main character Katie Mitchell — voiced by Abbi Jacobson (most well-known from the “Broad City” TV show but has also provided voices for “Bojack Horseman,” “Disenchantment” and “The LEGO Ninjago Movie”) — has with her parents.

Katie loves movies and makes her own short films with her own special effects, often starring her dog or her little brother. When she’s accepted to a prestigious film school, she’s thrilled! Not just to be in film school, but to finally be out of the house and on her own with others who share her same interests.

Her father Rick, voiced by Danny McBride (HBO’s “Eastbound & Down” and “Vice Principals”), says the whole family will take one last road trip together to drive Katie to film school. Unfortunately for the Mitchells, the robot apocalypse just happens to occur while they are on said road trip. Thus, the family must come together and use each member’s particular talents to survive, and maybe even put an end to the threat and save the world!

Often the trailers for comedies give away too much of the humor, but “The Mitchells vs the Machines” may have undersold the funny moments. I found the movie to be hilarious at times, which shouldn’t be surprising as the movie was produced by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the guys who did “The Lego Movie.”

The movie’s writers and co-directors, Mike Rianda and Jeff Rowe, also write the animated TV comedy series “Gravity Falls.” Some moments will be funny to parents of teens, teens themselves, younger children and everyone in the family. Some of the humor is as simple as their casting choices, including Oscar-winner Olivia Colman as the voice of PAL, essentially that world’s Siri, and the inspired idea of having John Mayer and Chrissy Teigen voice the Mitchells’ neighbors who have an Instagram-perfect life that makes Katie’s mother jealous.

There are some Saturday Night Live alums in there, including Maya Rudolph as Katie’s mother, Fred Armisen and Beck Bennett as a couple of malfunctioning robots who end up joining the Mitchells instead of rounding them up — which I thought was the funniest part of the movie — and some other celebrities like Conan O’Brien and former NBA star Blake Griffin.

The animation was a somewhat unique combination of 3D and 2D styles that was reminiscent of “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” which also isn’t much of a surprise since it comes from the same studio that made that film.

As far as warnings, there’s little to nothing objectionable in “The Mitchells vs the Machines.” It’s rated PG for some action and mild language. It was a little too predictable at times, and other times I wasn’t sure if it was sending up some classic movie tropes or embracing them — like the road trip comedy or the survivalist movie (complete with a showdown in an abandoned mall.) It also felt just a little longer than it needed to be, clocking in at 1 hour and 53 minutes.

But the length of the movie is hardly a problem. I really enjoyed “The Mitchells vs the Machines.” I found it to be hilarious and I thought it had something that everyone in the family can enjoy. I give it THREE out of FOUR stars and think it’s very much worth your time to seek this one out for family movie night.

You might have seen a trailer on YouTube where the movie was titled, “Connected.” Originally, this film was supposed to hit theaters in January 2020. The opening date was moved to September 2020 and then again to October before being pulled from the release schedule altogether.

Netflix eventually bought up the distribution rights in January of this year, where its title was changed back to “The Mitchells vs The Machines” and was finally given its current release date.

It is streaming exclusively on Netflix, which as you probably know is available by subscription only. Netflix’s lowest-priced plan is $8.99/month, but that only allows one screen at a time and does NOT include any high definition content. The most common plan is $14.99/month, which allows you to watch on two screens at the same time, as well as HD video. There is also an option for 4K content and four screens at once, but that will run you $18/month.

Hopefully, you & your family found this review helpful! I invite you to check out some of my other in-depth reviews of movies and streaming TV shows on KSLTV.com.

Andy Farnsworth reviews movies & TV shows for KSL TV. He also hosts the “Fan Effect” pop culture podcast for KSL NewsRadio.

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Review: ‘The Mitchells Vs The Machines’ Brings Hilarious, Family Fun To Netflix