*1/2 (out of four)
Zzzzz ... oh, sorry. Lightning McQueen (
The buzz: Really, Pixar? I thought the studio that brought us “Ratatouille” and “The Incredibles” was above the mistaken identity storyline. “Cars” was the studio’s least inspired film and didn’t deserve a follow-up, but maybe last year’s phenomenal “Toy Story 3” will usher in another sequel with the same magic.
The verdict: The only message here is that any behavior is appropriate as long as you’re being yourself, which is just not true and a strange lesson to offer kids. (It’s akin to saying, “Hey, bull, do your thing in that china shop.”) Imagination has taken a year off for the one-laugh, heart-free “Cars 2,” which is beautifully animated yet packs no impact in the visual details. Pixar doesn't get a free pass for merely looking great. It hasn't needed one until now. “Cars 2” is an emotionally absent action flick that overcompensates for forgettable characters and oppressive, annoying car-related puns. I mean, Brent Musberger is Brent Mustangberger and London’s Big Ben is Big Bentley, ha!
Did you know? Preceding the movie is a full trailer for “The Muppets,” which looks like joy-filled proof of the right way to extend a franchise. Just sayin’.
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