Sunday, June 25, 2006

Cars (**1/2)

Pixar's latest, and perhaps least worthy effort thus far, is technically impressive but some of the magic's missing. The first third feels a bit too hyper-caffeineted, much like Disney's recent CGI-film Chicken Little. The "jokes" fly fast and furious but they're not all that funny or clever. When the film's plot finally kicks in, a sort-of Doc Hollywood fish-out-of-water scenario, the movie slows down and focuses on characters, which is what Pixar does best. I think that the filmmakers were a bit too enamored with their characters, none of whom rival Woody or Buzz or Mr. Incredible, that there comes a point where the movie slows to a crawl and doesn't really go anywhere. To add insult to injury, there is a really cheesy song by Randy Newman that stops the movie dead in its tracks. And is it just me or does Owen Wilson, who's cultivated a real laid-back persona on screen of late, seem an ill match for a fast-talking, egocentric race car. I don't know if it's because my expectations are sky high for Pixar films, especially after the truly incredible The Incredibles, but I was disappointed with Cars. It felt a little too childish to me.


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