Who's In It: Larry the Cable Guy, Owen Wilson, Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, Eddie Izzard, John Turturro, Joe Mantegna, Thomas Kretschmann, Bonnie Hunt, Brett Musburger
The Basics: Lightning McQueen (Wilson) and his best friend Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) are back to address all of your unanswered questions from the first Cars movie. Oh, what? There were no unanswered questions from the first one? Well, you're getting another movie anyway. This time, Lightning McQueen is taunted into participating in a race that's meant to showcase the wonders of natural fuel sources. Obviously, that's only a front and the car entrusted with bringing the whole facade to a crashing halt is the super spy Mater. Wait, you mean the wacky tow truck who can't seem to get anything right? (insert canned laughter here)
What's The Deal: Uh…nothing about this movie was understandable except Disney's desire for more Cars merchandise revenue. I get uncomfortable when I am left scrambling to comprehend the plot of an animated movie, so I have a bad taste in my mouth over this flick. If I had to guess, I would say that people criticized the original film for being too simplistic, so for this one, they hired the entire staff of MIT and some quantum physicists to make the script as convoluted as possible. I found it lacking in charm and wit, which made the plot twists that much more frustrating, too.
Your Kids Will Like It: The movie has tons of cool gimmicks. The 3D looks good, the races are pretty fun, cars fly, and have the usual impressive spy tools that help them achieve their missions. After the film was over, there were plenty of hyper kids bouncing around the lobby calling this the coolest movie they had ever seen. I politely refrained from asking any of them what it was actually about, though.
Where Cars Is Best: My favorite part of these movies is seeing cars doing normal human things ("Oh look, he thinks he's people!"). There are some good laughs in here about bidets and wasabi. Of course the cars have fun names like Holly Shiftwell (Mortimer) and Brett Mustangburger (Musburger). But now that I have typed that sentence I just realized I am praising a movie for "fun names." Unless you have a kid in tow who wants to see about 75 new cars that you'll later have to buy for them in toy form, this movie isn't a must-see.
The Movie I Wanted to See: Showing before the film is Pixar short Toy Story: Hawaiian Vacation, which created a longing in my heart that can only be satisfied by watching all three Toy Story movies again. It is all of the things that the feature following it wasn't.