Forgetful blue fish Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) is back in this long-awaited (and extremely funny) sequel to Pixar’s “Finding Nemo.” This time the quest is to find her parents, who, naturally, she’d completely forgotten about all these years.
Marlin (Albert Brooks) reluctantly agrees to help, although it means crossing the ocean once again.
At a crucial point, Dory gets separated from her clownfish friends: She ends up at the Morro Bay Marine Life Institute, a rehabilitation center and aquarium, where she meets Hank the Octopus — who’s actually a Septopus, since he only has seven tentacles. Hank (voiced by “Modern Family” star Ed O’Neill) is easily the best new character in the movie and provides a good percentage of the laughs. He only helps Dory so he can get her rescue tag and spend the rest of his life in captivity since he hates the ocean.
What follows are some hilarious set pieces where Dory and Hank try to get to the Open Ocean exhibit where she believes her parents lived, while Marlin and Nemo face their own challenges in trying to find Dory.
Along the way, Marlin’s neurotic, overly analytic approach clashes with Dory’s impulsive and often risky choices. In a moment of anger, he tells her the only thing she’s good at is forgetting. This flusters the already flighty Dory even more and soon she’s doubting her own mission. But when Marlin and Nemo are seemingly stranded, Nemo reminds his dad that Dory’s schemes — while crazy — are often the only thing that work. Soon they’re asking themselves “What Would Dory Do?” and sure enough, taking ridiculous leaps of faith does the trick.
While it’s great that Dory’s friends embrace her scatterbrained shortcomings and her belief that there’s always another way out of any problem, attempting death-defying stunts is hardly a great take-away lesson for kids. But that’s a small caveat in this funny, heartwarming film that celebrates loyalty and never giving up on your dreams.
Be sure and stay for all of the credits for a capper starring the two seals that help Marlin and Nemo — when they’re not busy defending their choice sunning rock from a unibrowed interloper. They’re hilariously voiced by Brits Idris Elba and Dominic West. That makes three great Disney voice roles for Elba this year, who was also the intimidating Water Buffalo police captain in “Zootopia” and the villainous Shere Khan in “The Jungle Book.”
“Finding Dory” is a great addition to the Pixar family and should send you out of the theater grinning.