The latest family-friendly film to hit theaters is the colorful, upbeat, and pop-filled “Trolls” from Dreamworks Animation. I was able to preview the movie at a free screening at Regal Hollywood Stadium 20 & RPX last week with some Upstate Parent readers, and if that audience’s reaction is any indication, “Trolls” is bound to be a huge hit.

Based on the popular dolls that date back to the 1960s, “Trolls” is an animated tale full of pop music and happiness — I swear there’s a song every five minutes —about those crazy-haired tiny creatures many of us played with as kids. Unlike the trolls of the Internet, these trolls are the happiest critters on earth, singing, dancing, and hugging every opportunity they get, which is often. We’re told the story of the trolls through Princess Poppy (voiced by Anna Kendrick), who explains that the Bergens — larger, nasty creatures — only experience happiness by eating trolls, so they dedicated one day a year to having a troll feast. Poppy’s father led the trolls to safety, and they’ve been in hiding for almost 20 years. When Poppy decides to throw a rave, she accidentally reveals the location of the trolls and many of her friends are taken captive. She has to turn to the only person she believes can help her pull off a rescue mission — Branch (voiced by Justin Timberlake), who is a grumpy, paranoid recluse who isn’t like his fellow trolls.

What parents should know

“Trolls” is rated PG and targeted at families, and for the most part, it’s free of naughty innuendo. There’s no profanity and no sexual situations — although trolls do hug and two Bergens flirt throughout the story. There was one instance where a character mentions sarcasm, and another character looks at the camera and whispers “I think I had one of those once.” That’s as bad as it gets.

The dark and scary images are also fairly tame but might bother sensitive kids. The Bergen lope around like zombies and some look scary. There’s a scene where a Bergen is laying in a grave burying himself, but it’s quick and meant to show how downbeat those characters are.

Overall, “Trolls” is a positive, upbeat movie. Poppy lives to the tune of and sings often about never giving up no matter how hard the obstacles are. Trolls are happy and treat each other like family, and in the end, it’s teamwork, understanding each other’s differences, and forgiveness that saves the day.

The bottom line

“Trolls” is a fun movie for all ages, full of heartwarming sentiment and loaded with sugary sweetness. The soundtrack is catchy and full of mostly familiar songs. As a family outing to the theater, most families will love this movie.

“Trolls is rated PG for some mild rude humor. It opens Friday in theaters nationwide.

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