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A film only kids will enjoy

  • Finn McMissile in "Cars 2."
  • Mater (right) in "Cars 2."
  • (L-R) Lightning McQueen, Mater, Luigi, Guido and Fillmore in "Cars 2."
  • (L-R) Grem and Professor Z in "Cars 2."
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Oh,Pixar. It was due to happen. Your run of great animated films ran out of gas.

I wasn’t looking forward to the latest Cars film. I never saw the first one, and the commercials for this didn’t look promising.

The premise has Mater, a tow truck, being mistaken as a spy and sent into a bizarre espionage plot that will probably confuse the kids (and even some of the adults). The explosions and violence might also upset strict parents because the film is rated G.

Owen Wilson returns as Lightning McQueen (he was so much more fun in Midnight in Paris).

Michael Caine was perfectly cast as the spy -- an Aston Martin, of course. Emily Mortimer is his side kick, and other voices are provided by Jeff Garlin, Eddie Izzard, John Turturro (the Italian racer, who was much more fun as the nasty bowler in Big Lebowski), Bonnie Hunt, Joe Mantegna (doing the same voice he does on The Simpsons as Fat Tony), Bonnie Hunt, Tony Shalhoub, Richard Kind, Paul Dooley, Cheech Marin, Bruce Campbell, Edie McClurg, Vanessa Redgrave and Brent Musberger as announcer Brent Mustang-berger (yeah, this movie serves up a lot of car related puns like that).

A critic on KOGO AM 600 mentioned that Larry the Cable Guy’s tow truck character, Mater, was one of many characters – but he's not the main character. I don’t think Larry the Cable Guy is a funny stand-up, and he certainly wasn’t funny here with a screenwriter's lame hick jokes that got old the first 10 minutes of the movie.

If they were giving him buck teeth, they should have done something a bit more clever with the radiator grill to make them look like teeth; although that’s my only qualm about the animation; the cars and sets were done beautifully.

I was bummed that the group of cars that were lemons – an AMC Pacer, Gremlin, and Yugo – didn’t include the Ford Pinto. With all the explosions in the movie, a Pinto exploding would’ve fit in nicely.

There weren’t a lot of big laughs, just enough to elicit a smile. One had a monster truck that didn’t have the huge wheels but looked like Dracula. The line was something cheesy like “I want to siphon your gas.”

The most enjoyable part of this movie was hearing John Ratzenberger (Cliff the mailman from Cheers).

John Ratzenberger is one of the top actors when it comes to box office grosses, beating out actors like Morgan Freeman, Harrison Ford, Tom Cruise, Will Smith, and Bruce Willis. This is because he’s been in every Pixar movie, and with films like Ratatouille, Cars, WALL-E, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc., Up, A Bug’s Life, all the Toy Story films, and even Gandhi, they’ve grossed $6,475,185,574 (that’s not counting the $68 million that Cars 2 already made).

I wouldn’t suggest you add any more money to the gross, but if you have kids you may not have a choice.

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  • Rating: 1 of 5