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In Ron's Gone Wrong, the Social Network Has Been Roboticized

And "Gone Wrong" seems to be a euphemistic way of saying "Absolutely Going to Kill Someone."

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The animated robot Ron wields a butcher's knife in a scene from Ron's Gone Wrong.
Best friends don’t cleave each other, Ron.
Screenshot: 20th Century

Those kids today. Always on their phones! It seems like they’ve stopped talking to each other except through Instagram and TikTok and the Whozit and Whatevers. But what if. instead of phones, their social lives were conducted through adorable robots called B-Bots?

Honestly, it seems like everything would be fine... until it wasn’t.

Ron’s Gone Wrong is the first feature from Locksmith Animation, and if Ron seems a bit familiar to you, you are probably thinking of another round, white robot who has trouble understanding social cues, which would be Baymax from Disney’s 2014 movie Big Hero 6. Of course, Ron has a bit more going on than his predecessor, given that he quite literally needs to be told on two separate occasions to not murder children in this trailer alone. Meanwhile, the hunt for a defective robot is highly reminiscent of the Netflix movie The Mitchells vs. the Machines, which was released earlier this year.


What makes Ron’s Gone Wrong unique, it seems, is the focus on the importance of social connections and friendship. Or, as the official summary puts it: “Ron’s Gone Wrong is the story of Barney, a socially awkward middle-schooler and Ron, his new walking, talking, digitally-connected device, which is supposed to be his ‘Best Friend out of the Box.’ Ron’s hilarious malfunctions set against the backdrop of the social media age, launch them into an action-packed journey in which boy and robot come to terms with the wonderful messiness of true friendship.”

The movie is clearly an analogy for everyone’s addiction to interacting with people online and over apps, but despite Barney’s dad’s concern that his son will get addicted to “some device,” the B-Bots seem like a vast improvement over smartphones. They’re clearly helping kids meet people in real life and trying to build friendships; maybe they’re a bit of a crutch, but for everyone with social anxiety these could be a genuine help. I’d sure as hell take one.


That’s It and Shazam star Jacob Dylan Grazer as Barney, The Hangover’s Zach Galifianakis as Ron, and The Office’s Ed Helms as the dad. Olivia Colman, Rob Delaney, Justice Smith, Kylie Cantrall, Ricardo Hurtado, Marcus Scribner, and Thomas Barbusca also provide voices. Ron’s Gone Wrong is coming to theaters on October 22, but I’m certain it will make its way to Disney+ eventually if you’re not in a rush.

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