The once pioneering Spike Jonze helms this glum, languid take on Maurice Sendak's exquisitely illustrated, but not exactly verbose, children's tale of Max, a rowdy boy who tames and then frolics ("Let the wild rumpus begin") with a tribe of lumbering "wild things" in a faraway land. The first 15 minutes, which outline Max's relationship with his single mum (the excellent Catherine Keener), his fertile imagination and his loneliness, are very affecting. But it all descends into therapy-speak and grumpiness ("Will you keep out the sadness?") the moment we encounter the wild things. A frustrating and rather dull film for children – and adults.