At the time of writing, Ron’s Gone Wrong holds an 80% Tomatometer score on Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s what the critics are saying:
Aparita Bhandari of The Globe and Mail finds the film both fun and timely:
The bond between Barney and Ron is clearly the reason this movie works. Galifianakis is delightfully deadpan and weird, natch. Grazer (whose seeming confidence was charming in Luca) plays Barney with a likeable vulnerability. Releasing at a time when we’re — yet again — questioning the tech world’s hold on our lives through algorithms and data-mining, Ron’s Gone Wrong is also relevant for the adults in charge of the various family devices.
Awarding the film three stars out of four, Pat Padua of The Washington Post notes his surprise at the film’s intense critique of tech:
It’s clear that this horrifying near-future is much like our present. Co-directors Sarah Smith, Jean-Philippe Vine, and Octavio E. Rodriguez, working from a script by Smith and Peter Baynham, pack a chilling dystopian punch, especially for a children’s movie. The co-creators of the B-bot look suspiciously like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, and the latter character admits outright that B-bots are tailor-made not just to make money, but to spy on their owners.
Angie Han agreed, in her review for The Hollywood Reporter, that the film’s satire resonates:
Ron’s Gone Wrong may just capture one of the most realistic sci-fi futures seen onscreen in recent memory, in that it barely feels like a sci-fi future at all … [W]hat the animated feature lacks in daring imagination, it makes up for with endearing good humor, thoughtful cultural critique, and one heck of a cute robot.
The Associated Press’s Mark Kennedy is less impressed, arguing that the film is both derivative and muddled in its message:
Ron’s Gone Wrong cynically skewers tech-makers but doesn’t adequately address the machines they make. It doesn’t even dissuade the idea that algorithm-based steel toys can indeed be our friends. It apes too many films already out there and even its theme song — “Sunshine” by Liam Payne — is a pale imitation of a Maroon 5 song. Ron’s Gone Wrong has indeed gone wrong.
Michael Ordoña is also unenthused in Los Angeles Times, finding problems in the central relationship:
But arguably the film’s greatest comic asset — Galifianakis — is squandered by a one-note delivery that’s level-less by design. Ron is equally happy to narrate good times and bad. The skilled Galifianakis does a good job of approximating a voice constructed by individually recorded words; perhaps too good a job. We lose the very specificity that the film purports to be about — the imperfections, the humanity that makes friends friends.