Since this is another film from Pixar, that studio that only makes blockbusters and critically acclaimed movies, I guess I'm just supposed to get in line and kiss director and Pixar co-founder John Lasseter's rear end like everyone else.
I won't do it. "Cars" reeks of two things: formulaic storytelling and the suck-up mentality. Seems to me the Pixar executive board had a meeting and somebody stood up and said "hey, that car racing is really popular" and that's how this movie was spawned. Let's face it: If morons racing automobiles can get other morons to come watch them drive around in circles, how hard could it be to get all those morons to come watch your movie? Just make the cars talk and it's practically guaranteed to lure those people in.
Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) is a brash, young race car who's long on talent and short on humility. Of course, any time you have a main character who's lacking humility, you have to follow rule #27 in the Director's Guild Code of Filmmaking that says that character must learn a lesson to be humble. So, we automatically know that Lightning will learn to be humble through his experiences in Radiator Springs, a place populated by more down-home, aw-shucks type characters than a diner in an apple pie commercial.
Lightning learns friendship from Mater (Larry the Cable Guy), a dumb but genuine tow truck, humility from Doc Hudson (Paul Newman), an old Hudson Hornet, and commitment from Sally Carrera (Bonnie Hunt), a Porsche.
After the screening I saw, agreement was almost universal that the film could have been shorter. That's because when an audience can predict everything that's going to happen, denouement takes an eternity, even when one doesn't know what denouement is. Think of any film where a conceited, know-it-all character finds himself in what he thinks is hicksville. Think "Doc Hollywood." What does Michael J. Fox learn from the hicks in the small town? Think "Miss Congeniality." What does Sandra Bullock learn from the dumb pageant contestants? It's all the same. And given this film's target audience - race car fans - could there be anything better than hicks teaching an uppity city boy how to behave? Now why Lightning didn't emerge from Radiator Springs with the skill set to belch on command and beat his spouse, I don't really know.
If "Cars" is any evidence, the tread on the Pixar tire is starting to go bald.
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