After this year’s excellent The Mitchells vs. The Machines, one might feel that we’ve reached our quota for 2021 animated family films with a message about personal identity, living online and our overdependence upon technology, but Ron’s Gone Wrong is betting there’s still money to be made on the subject. 20th Century Studios’ film released its first trailer today ahead of an Oct. 22, 2021 release, and it’s hard to be enthusiastic when every moment looks painfully familiar on first inspection. In fact, it looks a bit like it was just cobbled together with unused bits of Big Hero 6, Wall-E and others.
The story of Ron’s Gone Wrong revolves around a middle school student named Barney, voiced by Jack Dylan Grazer, who one might recognize as Eddie Kaspbrak in the two-part adaptation of Stephen King’s It. Socially awkward Barney seems to be a pariah in his school for the fact that he doesn’t have the latest gadget that has come to apparently define his entire generation—a “B-bot,” a sort of “assigned friend” that follows its user around everywhere, cushioning them from having to engage in actual social interaction. As the only kid without a B-bot, Barney dreams of being accepted, but when he finally receives one, he finds that his own assigned friend, Ron (Zach Galifianakis) is a bit off in the head. It all looks to build into a madcap race as the government attempts to recover the malfunctioning and potentially dangerous robot, Short Circuit-style.
Suffice to say, this doesn’t look like the most inspired bit of social commentary we’ve seen in recent memory, lacking the unique animation style and anarchic bent of the likes of The Mitchells vs. The Machines in particular. Still, there’s at least some vocal talent among the cast, with supporting roles for Olivia Colman, Ed Helms, Justice Smith, Rob Delaney and others. Check out the full trailer below.