One of the questions we all seem to ask at times is: What's going on inside a person's head?  Pixar attempts to tackle this with Inside Out, their latest animated movie that personifies emotions and their interactions with the world.

Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) is a happy young kid.  She lives in the midwest, enjoys playing hockey on a frozen lake, has lots of friends, and goofs around with her (unnamed) mom and dad (Diane Lane, Kyle MacLackhan).

We also get to see what's inside Riley's head as well.  Her brain is run by five emotions: Joy (Amy Poehler), the de facto leader and perpetually optimistic and chatty; Sadness (Phyllis Smith), a sad sack who sees the negative in everything; Anger (Lewis Black) a literal hothead whose easily riled up; Fear (Bill Hader), a perpetual worrier; and Disgust (Mildy Kaling), the part of her mind who dislikes things and also critiques fashion.  They take turns operating a control panel that determines Riley's actions, create memories (glasslike orbs the color of the dominant emotion at the time), and at the end of the day the memories get dumped into long-term memory.  There are also core memories: a few special memories that power Riley's "Islands of Personality," such as Goofball Island and Family Island.  Everything seems perfect and, as Joy cluelessly wonders, "What could possibly go wrong?

 A move.  The family moves to San Francisco, and everything that could go wrong does.  The new house is dreary and in the middle of a crowded street.  Dad is too busy doing business on the phone to play with Riley.  And the moving van keeps getting delayed, leaving Riley with none of her stuff and sleeping on the floor.  This situation is matched with chaos inside Riley's head: They discover that Sadness can turn memories sad/blue bu touching them, and when Joy tries to keep the core memories from being infected, Joy, Sadness, and the core memories all get sucked out of the control panel and into the distant memories.  Now Joy and Sadness have to try and get back to the control room, along with Riley's imaginary friend Bing Bong (Richard Kind), to make things right again.

There's a lot to enjoy in Inside Out.  This movie has a terrific visual imagination (from the glowing emotions to the nightmares and abstract parts of the mind) and lots of great voice talent.  (Lewis Black was born to play Anger.)  There's plenty of humor for both kids and adults through the movie (love the unforgettable chewing gum jingle!) and some heavy emotional hits near the film's end.  Inside Out is another hit for Pixar -- and an example of a summer movie that's smart and funny as well as visually stunning.

Overall grade: A-
Reviewed by James Lynch

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