When this movie came out last year, reviews were mixed. I saw some that were negative, at the time. The very-critical IMDB reviewers, though, have given it a favorable 7/10; Rotten Tomatoes' critic survey gave it 65%.
I shrugged off the initial negative responses I'd read, and went to a theater with my younger boys, then 7 and 11. We all enjoyed it. In fact, I was surprised it wasn't a bigger deal. We found it funny, fast-moving, and had a couple of nice little "messages" (keep trying, family matters).
Last Saturday, the family watched it for Burger Night; this audience included my wife and daughter, who are much tougher critics. They both liked it, too. We all laughed, and both the ladies stayed for the whole thing. (If they don't like it, they don't stay; or they get something to read.)
It's a movie that works hard, in the best sense of the phrase, to be engaging and funny. It doesn't assume the viewer will be happy just because of the CGI animation, the eye-candy, and the occasion sight-gag. The voice actors are nuanced, the expressions and gestures of the characters sometimes very complex; there are some deftly subtle jokes adults will appreciate more than the kids will, yet plenty to have the kids roaring. A lot to like... unless you're a sourpuss. (You know who you are.)
Knowing that my readers include folks who are always looking for things they can watch with their kids, and that this movie was more under the radar than the (to me) disappointing "Cars" and "Ratatouille," I thought I'd pass along the recommendation.
And now... I have!