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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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.