* * * ½
(Clever family cartoon comedy with message)
Missing Link makes for a perfect family movie for April vacation week. Even teenagers may like it.
Zack Galifianakis is the voice of Mr. Link, that missing link in the chain between animals and humans. Link is missing others like him, living alone and lonely during the frontier days in Washington State until he is discovered by Sir Lionel Frost (voice of Hugh Jackson), a British adventurer who will do anything to get into a posh private club and be recognized by his peers.
Mr. Link is a huge orange creature with a heart of gold who wishes nothing more than to get to the Himalayas, where he understands there are creatures like him living a Shangri-La existence. Off they go, by stagecoach, railroad, ocean liner and foot, accompanied by the lady with the map (Zoe Saldana) and being pursued by a mean assassin hired by the head of the elite club.
The kids will love the chases and the adventures they have along the way. The adults will love the subtle British humor and clever language.
Mr. Link, who has been given the name "Susan,” because he wants to be named after someone he admires, takes every word literally. When Sir Lionel says, "Don't mention it,” he doesn't, and when Lionel says "You can say that again,” you know what's coming.
They finally reach their destination, which proves to be nothing like what they expected. The creatures are green, not orange, and suspicious of anything that is different and threatening their security. (Sound familiar?) The lesson is about caring and living together in harmony and respect for one's differences. Stick around for the clever credits.