There’s a new “Cars” pulling into theaters, but the series is out of gas.
The authorization has always been Pixar’s down-market stepchild, with reticent jokes, trite animation, and the kind of hayseed stories only a good-‘ol-boy could love.
But nonetheless “Wall-E” and “Inside Out” won all the imagination critics’ prizes, the “Cars” cinema still sole tickets. They certain changed merchandise. And now, like it or not, here comes No. 3.
Except it’s time to put on the brakes.
Like the first two films, this one has Owen Wilson providing the drawling voice of race automobile Lightning McQueen. And, like the first two films, he’s wondering if he has what it takes to win.
So, enter a new friend, the proud tutor Cruz, uttered by Cristela Alonzo, here to get McQueen into racing shape.
You can theory what happens. Heck, the 4-year-old kicking the back of your chair can theory what happens.
That doesn’t meant that some of it isn’t fun. Wilson’s marble-mouthed drawl stays weirdly comforting. The film has a juicy soundtrack, too, with lots of clanging guitar and a twanging cover of “Glory Days.”
There are also adequate fast-paced racing scenes to prove a NASCAR fan and, in this summer of “Wonder Woman,” even a clever subplot about womanlike empowerment.
But the art work is unimaginative. The jokes are few. And the flashbacks to the first film — and the Doc Hudson character, uttered by the late Paul Newman — just feel desperate. Remember when this authorization was kind of sweet, and real?
Well, no, not really. But it’s getting harder and harder for the series to feign it.
Of course, if you desired the first two “Cars” flicks, you may like this as well. And as prolonged as people keep going to them, the studio will keep making them. In fact, this one even suggests the probability of a spinoff.
They automobile be ashamed.
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