In 2010, Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer-Camp introduced the world to an adorable one-inch talking shell named Marcel. This shell, complete with a googly eye and a pair of miniature shoes, became a viral sensation, and is now getting his own feature-length film. So brace yourself for the high-pitched squeals of adorableness in Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, a mockumentary comedy once again starring Slate as this tiny shell. This film features Marcel’s journey to find his family with the help of a documentary filmmaker (Fleischer-Camp).
Nothing can be said about a film like Marcel the Shell with Shoes On besides how cute it is. Slate, Fleischer-Camp, and co-writer Nick Paley took a series of short films primarily consisting of cute one-liner jokes and made it into the most heartwarming film since Paddington 2. This film works so well because of the protagonist, who is lovely to look at while also having an adorable personality and a beautiful outlook on the world. Marcel is a wholesome icon you root for due to how funny and loveable he is.
As we are introduced to Marcel with a few one-liners, the movie is immediately comforting. The writing is exquisite, with many quick hilarious moments, some of which are taken right from the short films this movie is based upon. However, they could not have simply had Marcel exist and be cute for an hour and a half. The screenplay first makes Marcel the viral sensation that he is while showing how he was never ready for the type of fame he received. Afterward, Marcel is sent on a journey to reunite with his family of shells who have been taken away from their home.
It’s a film filled with simple, elegant writing that makes you invested in the journey. Early in the film, Marcel states that he smiles, “because it’s worth it.” Moments like this stick with the audience and the movie knows not to overstay its welcome with a breezy 90-minute runtime that was more than enough to tell this touching tale. Marcel also has an emotional relationship with his grandmother Connie (Isabella Rossellini), and the subplot surrounding these two is phenomenally crafted. Watching Marcel is a one-way trip to getting teary-eyed in the best way possible, as Fleischer-Camp tugs at your heartstrings.
The film goes the extra mile by giving Fleischer-Camp, who plays the documentary filmmaker making a movie about Marcel, a character arc of his own. This was an excellent choice, as it adds to how inspiring and beautiful this movie is. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is sure to make your soul smile with its original concept and simple execution. Slate’s phenomenal voice work and Bianca Cline’s warm, aesthetically pleasing cinematography elevate a comfort movie that is perfect for those in need of a smile and a teardrop.
As ComingSoon’s review policy explains, a score of 8 equates to “Great.” While there are a few minor issues, this score means that the art succeeds at its goal and leaves a memorable impact.
Disclosure: The critic attended a press screening for ComingSoon’s Marcel the Shell with Shoes On review.