*get to the point*
The film opens with a young koala bear named Buster Moon (Mathew McConaughey) going to see his first musical production as a child. he is completely captivated by the show and quickly forms the dream of working in the theater. As an adult, Buster has taken over the very theater where he saw that play. however, business has not been so good and the theater is in trouble. buster’s assistant mrs. Crawley (Garth Jennings) informs him that angry stage crew workers are outside because their checks have bounced. Buster gets away on his bike while he runs to the bank.
As Buster rides through town, we meet some of the other main characters: Johnny the Bouncer (Taron Egerton) is singing to himself in an alley, but ducks when he sees some cops. he goes on the radio to tell a group of guys to stay put, but his dad, gang leader big daddy (peter serafinowicz), and his thugs run away and grab johnny because they just stole some stuff of value. Next we meet Rosita the Pig (Reese Witherspoon), an overworked mother of 25 piglets and wife of Norman (Nick Offerman), who doesn’t realize how much work she does, or that she likes to sing. Then we see Porcupines Ash (Scarlett Johansson) and Ella’s boyfriend Lance De Ella (Beck Bennett), a punk rock duo with Lance as the lead singer. she doesn’t like it when ash steps in to sing alone. Elsewhere on the other side of town we find Meena the elephant (tori kelly) singing to her grandfather (jay pharaoh) for her birthday. she loves her voice and encourages her to go out and show others what she’s got. we finally meet mike the mouse (seth macfarlane), a saxophonist who is also greedy and selfish. he calls a guy who gives him just one coin and forces him to give up whatever else he has in his pockets.
Buster shows up at a restaurant to meet up with his sheepdog friend Eddie (John C. Reilly), whose family has invested heavily in Buster’s theater and aren’t happy with the results. Buster thinks he has found the answer to all his problems: he wants to organize a singing contest in his theater. Eddie doesn’t like the idea, and soon he and Buster are kicked out of the restaurant when Buster brings out some sandwiches.
buster has more. crawley makes flyers for the competition. Since he doesn’t have much money to offer as a reward, he tells her to post a $1000 reward, complete with a bunch of junk stuffed into a treasure chest to make it look like it contains prize money. em. Crawley’s glass eye jumps and bounces off the keyboard, causing the ad to say that the reward is $100,000. she prints hundreds of flyers, but stands by the fan, causing her to blow every flyer in town. many animals find the flyers and think they have a chance at something big.
The next day, Buster is surprised to see a whole line of animals walking down the block in front of the theater. Over a hundred animals, including Johnny, Rosita, Mike and Ash, auditioned. Meena goes to an audition, but she has a bad case of stage fright and runs away. When all is said and done, Buster selects Johnny, Mike, and Ash (without Lance) as soloists, while Rosita is paired with another pig named Gunter (Nick Kroll). buster then learns that mrs. Crawley announced a $100,000 reward and panics as he tries to maintain the illusion that there is a lot of money in that chest.
The animals begin rehearsing for the show. buster gives them a list of songs they can go with. Johnny learns that she has to play the piano, and Ash isn’t too happy about being given a cheesy pop playlist since she’s a teenager. Meena returns after being pressured by her grandfather to audition again. she brings buster a cake and finds it while he is trying to run an extension cord to a nearby building after the power company cuts the power. Since Meena is too nervous to ask for a second chance, Buster assumes that she wants to be part of the scene crew. she agrees and meena returns home to find out that her mother (leslie jones) told all of her friends that meena was on the show.
a bank representative named judith goes to the theater to tell buster to get his accounts in order or the bank will get the theater. Buster walks up to Eddie and asks if she can get her grandmother, legendary artist Nana Noodleman (Jennifer Saunders), to give the theater some funding. Eddie is nervous about talking to Nana, but Buster comes along to convince her to invest in the theater. Nana thinks that Buster ruined the theater with the shows she’s put on, but he never gives up trying to change her mind.
Outside of trials, the other animals mind their own problems. Ash wants to write an original song, but Lance won’t support her in making her own music. Later, Ash finds Lance working with another porcupine girl named Becky, prompting Ash to kick Lance out of her apartment.
mike becomes so confident that he will win the reward that he takes out a loan so he can buy a fancy car and impress a mouse. They walk into a nightclub where Mike is playing against three big bears. One of the bears sees that Mike cheated and chases after the mouse, only to lose him when he escapes from the club.
During rehearsal, Johnny is supposed to be a getaway driver for Big Daddy and his gang as they try to steal some gold. Johnny tries to take time off to go to rehearsal, but when he needs to get back, he gets stuck in a traffic jam as a result of a car accident he caused while he was running back to the theater. big daddy and his children are arrested. Later, Johnny visits his father in jail and admits that he was rehearsing for the show and that he would rather be a singer than be in his father’s gang. big daddy is furious and disowns johnny.
At night, Johnny sneaks into the theater and tries to steal the treasure chest, thinking he can use the supposed money there to rescue his father. however, he stops when he sees his own audition sheet and sees that Buster listed him as a born singer. em. Crawley shows up, and Johnny plays it like he just needs more piano lessons. she happily sits down to help him.
buster asks meena to help him organize a montage for a preview that he will present for nana. They get water from a water tower and use krill to create a light display. Nana arrives and is impressed by the show so far, but the three bears find Mike in the theater and threaten to eat him unless she gives them her money. Mike tells the bears that the money is in the treasure chest. the main bear breaks the chest, revealing all of buster’s junk and no money. his ruse is exposed to the other animals, but things take a turn for the worse when the water tank breaks, causing the entire theater to be flooded and eventually completely destroyed.
The bank now owns what’s left of the theater. buster sinks into despair and hopelessness. The cast of animals head to Eddie’s house where Buster stays to try to cheer him up, but has given up and declares himself a failure.
buster and mrs. Crawley started a car wash business like his father used to. Eddie steps in to help him. A while later, Buster hears Meena singing “Hallelujah” by herself where the theater used to be. Impressed and invigorated by her singing, Buster comes up with a new plan.
buster calls out to the animals to keep the show going. Mike leaves when she learns that it is no longer a competition and that there will be no prize money. they set up a stage in the middle of the ruins of the theater and get some of the animal families through, except only rosita and meena’s families show up. The show begins with Rosita and Gunter performing “Shake It Off” with a dance in sparkly costumes. Rosita’s children are all excited, and Norman is so amazed that he runs up on stage to kiss his wife.
then johnny plays the piano and sings “i’m still standing”. big daddy watches from prison and is amazed at the singing of his son. he immediately leaves to go see johnny, which leads to a search for big daddy throughout the city.
ash starts to play his original song, but judith walks over to turn off the music and tell everyone to go away. Ash continues to play the song, “Set It All Free,” which she is even watching from home. Ash gets so involved that she accidentally shoots spikes into the audience.
Mike watches the show on TV and sets out to prove to the viewers that he’s better than the rest. she rushes to the theater and delivers a rousing rendition of “my way,” just as police helicopters fly overhead, nearly knocking the microphone skyward. he manages to finish the song, but unfortunately, the bears see the show and head to the theater to find him. meanwhile, big daddy came to the theater and sees johnny. he hugs his son and apologizes for what he said to her, then praises his musical talent. big daddy voluntarily returns to prison.
meena is the latest artist. she is very nervous until buster talks her out of it. She begins a slow, self-conscious version of “don’t worry about a thing” before yelling at the top of her lungs, which even leaves Mike’s jaw on the floor. The bears show up and snatch him up, nearly eating him until the mouse shows up to save Mike.
nana, having been in the audience the whole time, sees buster and claps with the rest of the audience. she eventually gives buster the financing from her so they can buy the theater back and rebuild it into an even bigger and better theater.
The movie ends with Buster and all his new friends reunited for the theater’s grand reopening.