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Overall Rating
3.5

Awesome34.19%
Worth A Look: 11.11%
Average: 27.35%
Pretty Bad: 24.79%
Total Crap: 2.56%

9 reviews, 63 user ratings


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Cars
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by Doug Bentin

"Pixar hits a speed bump."
2 stars

One very generous reviewer wrote that after 45 minutes of Pixar’s new animated film “Cars” he realized that he was bored. I got there quicker.

In fact, the only moment early in the film that made me think it was going to live up to Pixar’s stellar reputation was when rookie race car Lightning McQueen was reluctantly performing his post-race schtick for a live audience. His sponsor is Rust-eze, an anti-rust product, and his two sidekicks for the show are a pair of banged-up jalopies named Rusty and Dusty. As Lightning drives away in disgust at having to be affiliated with these rust buckets, one of heaps shouts out, “Don’t drive like my brother,” and the other responds with “Don’t drive like my brother,” and I realized the voices were being supplied by Tom and Ray Magliozzi, the hosts of NPR’s “Car Talk.”

Now that, I thought, is right on target. Oh boy, if the rest of the picture shows that degree of inventiveness . . .

But it doesn’t.

Lightning is being transported to California for a run-off race, the winner to receive the highly valued Piston Cup, when he gets lost and finds himself in the forgotten backwater town of Radiator Springs. Attempting to outrun the police car (voiced by Michael Wallis, author of the book “Route 66: The Mother Road” and possessor of the deepest, richest voice around), Lightning (Owen Wilson, whose voice is pretty thin) tears up the asphalt going into town. Local judge Doc Hudson (Paul Newman, whose voice is getting pretty shaky) sentences the race car to repairing the road.

Radiator Springs is full of stereotypical character types played by actors who could read these lines while sleeping and not rise to REM, led by Bonnie Hunt as Sally, with whom Lightning will fall in love, and Larry the Cable Guy as Mater, with whom Lightning will become friends. Right. You get lost and wind up in a near-ghost town and you become best buds with Larry the Cable Guy. Carrot Top must have been waiting for replacement parts from the manufacturer.

Okay, you expect American animated films to be ball-less and to sell out to the family values crowd, but we’ve been led to believe that Pixar will at least include some adult humor in the package. Not this time. “Cars” is a dreary reminder that friendship, love, humility, and nostalgia will see you through. Please. We know that Disney has to wrap itself around the leg of Family Values like a horny poodle, but now they’ve got Pixar doing it, too.

Lightning displays the life lessons he’s learned when he finally makes it to California for the big race and makes a huge sacrifice. I don’t want to give any plot points away, just in case you’re under five years old and can’t see the finale coming after the 10-minute mark, but what Lightning does is totally unnecessary and arbitrary. I was insulted by it. Enough on that.

For the first time, watching a Pixar release, I felt as if the picture was self-indulgent and bloated. The landscape shots are stunning, but they don’t mean anything. It’s as if director John Lassiter is replying to the question “Why did you put that in the movie?” by saying “I could and so I did.” I hate to think that he wanted to add, “I am Pixar and I can do as I please. You love me and will pay to see whatever I do.”

I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of “Finding Nemo” either, the Pixies’ other massive hit, and for many of the same reasons. Too much eye candy and not enough story and character. But I’ve always looked forward to Pixar’s next project. Now, especially since they’ve been purchased by Disney, I’m not so sure. My remnant of anticipation is supplied by “One Man Band,” a short that precedes “Cars.” It has that old Pixar super sauce.

Here's hoping.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=14707&reviewer=405
originally posted: 06/13/06 03:54:37
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell good not great 4 stars
3/23/15 Jerry Spray zzzzzzzzzzzzz....huh? OH! Did I just sleep through "Cars"? Go figure. 2 stars
10/19/11 Magic The second worst Pixar movie is still a Pixar movie. Nostalgic and gives warm fuzzies. 4 stars
6/15/11 My apples are rotting A tad underrated. Not aclassic but entertaining 4 stars
10/23/09 Rachel This is a favorite in our household. Cute and has a good message. 5 stars
1/14/09 Anonymous. it's cute and funny, like most other animated movies. :] 4 stars
9/14/08 Samantha Pruitt not as good as the other Pixar movies, still kind of funny 4 stars
7/19/08 Shaun Wallner I love this movie, great for the whole family 5 stars
7/06/08 John Millheim the kids loved it, I did too,the animation was great 5 stars
5/15/08 PAUL SHORTT DECENT FAMILY FILM 3 stars
1/23/08 Chase My dad and I watched it and we both thought it was hilarious, but had a good plot. 5 stars
1/08/08 Steve Aside from official remakes I've never seen a movie that mirrors another so closely. 3 stars
8/11/07 dragongirl Really cool movie! Good charas, especially Doc was rocks! Well the hero ain't bad either! 5 stars
7/07/07 AnnieG Characters are bad role models for kids - best parts were for the F1 fans 3 stars
5/25/07 sultryHobbit Like my girlfriend: cute, beautiful, but slow and predictable. 3 stars
2/13/07 druggas great movie with a good moral to the story. I watch it every night. 5 stars
2/07/07 Randall J. Paltza There's nothing "cynical" about CARS. If it imitates Doc H, I'm glad I saw CARS instead! 5 stars
2/02/07 bkjohnston Teaching all of us that some things are more important than winning is NOT preachy. 5 stars
1/27/07 David Cohen Still a heck of a lot better than anything Disney is producing these days 3 stars
1/21/07 David A. Cute for kids, but it gets pretty preachy. 2 stars
1/07/07 Stu If the critics want deep, watch usual suspects. This is a kids film my 4 year old loved! 5 stars
1/07/07 xtmedia.net Disappointing for a Pixar,last 20min saves the movie. Seen Doc H, I agree with the comment! 3 stars
12/24/06 Tessa it's ok 3 stars
12/15/06 Lloyd Loved it! Will watch it over and over and over again! 5 stars
12/07/06 Lou Perez Loved it! This movie has a much deeper Story than you think, if you can see it! 5 stars
11/25/06 Dave T. Very clever...after the first viewing. 5 stars
11/22/06 Chris realized 3 days later when thinking about nothing that it reminded me of Doc H-wood 2 stars
11/21/06 Mohammad I think you missed the goal of "Cars." It's a tribute to car-nuts like me - we love it! 5 stars
11/10/06 Charles Tatum Beautiful to look at, but drags...get it, drags?! 4 stars
11/04/06 becky one of the best disney movies yet 5 stars
9/27/06 Cruzia Wonderfull graphic, awesome story, you'll dissappointed by not watching it !!! 5 stars
9/25/06 Lisa Craven Loved the animation and story line. Enjoyable dialogue and characters. 5 stars
9/03/06 Christopher Stucky Eventually, Pixar has to make a bad one. This isn't it yet. 5 stars
8/24/06 Chad Thomas Best animated movie of the year! Classic Pixar. 5 stars
8/18/06 Heather Marie Any requests?!! 5 stars
8/17/06 Pn. A feast for my PC & Pixel soaked brainstem. Will not be as good on second viewing... 5 stars
8/17/06 Mary Beth great animation, enjoyable, surprised at low ratings 4 stars
8/14/06 Sharon yea I took my little 5 year old brother and he hated it! 1 stars
8/06/06 Robyn Awesome Film!!! 5 stars
8/06/06 Erik Van Sant The first 'bad' Pixar film. Even that is better than most of the shit offered this summer. 3 stars
8/05/06 Gaogaigar I was disappointed with this Pixar picture- dozed off somewhere in Radiator Springs! 3 stars
7/26/06 Quigley A good but not great Pixar movie. stunning visuals; and ya gotta love Mater 4 stars
7/10/06 Sarah Love it. Brilliant animation. In opposition to a few blunt ratings, it was incredibly witty 4 stars
7/01/06 Christopher Didn't like the previews but this is a really great movie. Bonnie Hunt's vocals were great. 5 stars
7/01/06 Gerry Irons Boring and Disappointing. Slow story with overly simple charactors and story 3 stars
6/28/06 PAG Solid, but not great, film. Larry The Cable Guy was pretty funny. 3 stars
6/25/06 Mase Sorely lacking something all pixar films had has to this point, a sense of adventure. 3 stars
6/23/06 orpament torture, even with my son 1 stars
6/20/06 Agent Sands Fantastic and substantial. Greatly stimulant of emotions. 5 stars
6/20/06 JLo It was great, better than Gigli, that's for sure! 5 stars
6/19/06 John Aster Habig What the hell is this crap? Since when does scrap metal relate to us as human beings? 1 stars
6/16/06 ES Better than bug's life and moster's inc. 4 stars
6/14/06 tjpeterson AWESOME, don't know these other people watched, son loved it,will be the 1st to buy on DVD! 5 stars
6/13/06 KingNeutron Critics too harsh on this one; I laughed, I cried; looks Awesome. (But I havnt seen Doc H.) 4 stars
6/12/06 bullit16 I would watch any Pixar movie any time. Except this one. 4 stars
6/12/06 ajay loved all the other pixar movies for the great story/characters. this falls *way* short. 2 stars
6/12/06 Pokejedservo Take it as the great old-fashioned storyline as it is. This isn't new age at all... 5 stars
6/12/06 Joe This movie was GREAT! funny, good story, who saw Doc Hollywood anyway? 5 stars
6/11/06 katsat Good but not great. Needed MORE anthropomorphism for audience to relate to. Great visuals. 4 stars
6/11/06 San Lamar it was ok 3 stars
6/11/06 Koitus GREAT intro-short; MUST STAY for the credits. The rest = Eh? Agree with Doc H-Wood cmnts. 3 stars
6/11/06 MickOZ ANAMATION IS FOR KIDS UNDER 10! that said my 5 year old liked it. 5 stars
6/10/06 Adrian I definetely got my hopes way too up. Aside from the visuals, it's totally boring. 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  09-Jun-2006 (G)
  DVD: 07-Nov-2006

UK
  28-Jul-2006 (PG)

Australia
  08-Jun-2006 (G)




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