TROLLS — Review by Susan Granger

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Back in 1959, a Danish woodcutter named Thomas Dam came up with the idea of a Good Luck Troll doll. As the story goes, he couldn’t afford to buy a doll for his young daughter, so he carved one. It became so popular among her friends that Dam became a toymaker, founding Dam Things, producing Trolls in soft plastic with colorful, cotton-candy hair. In 2003, the Toy Industry Assoc. elevated the squat, fuzzy Troll to its Century of Toys list, and now DreamWorks Animation has created a musical comedy about the search for happiness – and just how far some will go to get it. Read on…

Trolls are “the happiest creatures the world had ever known.” In their woodland Trolltopia, they love to sing, dance and hug, blissfully riffing into Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” Lionel Ritchie’s “Hello,” Diana Ross’ “I’m Coming Out,” “Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence,” Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors,” Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September.”

Problem is: as a worrywart Troll named Branch (Justin Timberlake) points out, although the Trolls’ mortal enemies, the giant Bergen ogres, haven’t been seen for 20 years, they may return any day now.

Monstrous Bergens relish gobbling Trolls and, sure enough, disgraced Chef Bergen (Christine Baranski) kidnaps several – including Biggie (James Corden) and DJ Suki (Gwen Stefani) – planning to serve them for dinner on Trollstice, a feast day.

So perpetually optimistic, pink Princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and Branch launch a rescue mission.

Meanwhile, Chef’s long-suffering scullery maid, Bridget (Zooey Deschanel), is secretly in love with Prince Gristle (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). So ever-helpful Trolls give her a bedazzling make-over, turning her into Lady GlitterSparkles.

Despite its exuberant platitudes, derivative predictability and cupcake poop, scripted by Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger, directors Walt Dohrn (“Spongebob Squarepants”) and Mike Mitchell (“Shrek Forever After”) keep the action peppy and blindingly colorful – albeit instantly forgettable.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Trolls” is a sugary, syrupy 6 – with a rockin’ soundtrack.

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