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"CARS"
(2006) (voices of Owen Wilson, Bonnie Hunt) (G)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
*Minor Minor Heavy Mild Minor
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Minor None Minor
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
*Minor None None Moderate Mild


QUICK TAKE:
Animated Comedy: A self-centered, hotshot racecar finds his outlook on life changed when he ends up having to spend time in a small town paying retribution for the damage he created on his way to a big race in Los Angeles.
PLOT:
Lightning McQueen (voice of OWEN WILSON) is a self-centered, rookie racecar who's about the hottest thing on the racing circuit. Battling longtime Piston Cup champion Strip "The King" Weathers (voice of RICHARD PETTY) and perpetual second place finisher Chick Hicks (voice of MICHAEL KEATON), Lightning ends up in a three-way tie with them.

That necessitates a race-off the following week in Los Angeles, but since Lightning is so self-centered, the only member left of his pit crew is Mack (voice of JOHN RATZENBERGER), his transport truck. The two then set off on their cross-country trek, but the long hours and darkness of night results in them being separated after both doze off.

While racing around in a panic trying to find Mack, Lightning ends up fleeing from the local Sheriff (voice of MICHAEL WALLIS) of Radiator Springs, resulting in a lot of damage to the main highway through the once vibrant town. As a result, the hotshot is locked away in the impound lot overnight.

When he realizes the young troublemaker is a racecar, local mechanic/judge Doc Hudson (voice of PAUL NEWMAN) throws out the case, but public defender Sally (voice of BONNIE HUNT) -- despite supposedly working for him -- thinks that Lightning should serve some public time fixing the damages and possibly infusing some outside interest in their town due to his fame.

With his gasoline supply limited to keep him from running away, Lightning reluctantly starts to work on the repairs, all while the locals watch. They include old tow truck Mater (voice of LARRY THE CABLE GUY) who befriends the sullen racecar, as well as hippie VW Bus Fillmore (voice of GEORGE CARLIN) and military jeep Sarge (voice of PAUL DOOLEY).

Old car Lizzie (voice of KATHERINE HELMOND) doesn't seem to know what's going on, while store owners Flo (voice of JENIFER LEWIS), Ramone (voice of CHEECH MARIN) and tire shop proprietor Luigi (voice of TONY SHALHOUB) and his faithful assistant Guido (voice of GUIDO QUARONI) long for any sort of business to come their way.

With time running out before his upcoming big race-off, Lightning can't wait to get out of the small town and back to his famous life. But as the days wear on and he starts to get to know the locals -- especially Sally and Doc Hudson -- Lightning begins to have a new outlook on life as he learns a thing or two about both himself and them.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Yes, especially if they're fans of other computer-animated offerings from Pixar.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: G
Presumably for not containing material to warrant a higher rating.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
It's debatable whether kids view non-human characters as role models, but here's a quick look at their major defining characteristics:
  • LIGHTNING MCQUEEN is the hotshot and self-centered rookie racecar who initially gripes out having to serve community time in Radiator Springs (as retribution for the damage he caused), but eventually comes to like the place and its inhabitants.
  • SALLY is the pretty Porsche and motel owner who draws his eye, but is also the one who makes him serve that community time in hopes that his presence might rejuvenate their town. Having lived in the big city, she's wise to his ways.
  • DOC HUDSON is the gruff town mechanic and judge who isn't happy to see Lightning not only because he dislikes the ego, but also due to his presence bringing back the long buried truth about his own racing past.
  • MACK is the transport truck who's the only member of his racing team to stick with him.
  • MATER is the good ol' boy tow truck who befriends Lightning.
  • CHICK HICKS is the brash racecar who sees Lightning as an upstart in his way of usurping the crown from Strip.
  • STRIP "THE KING" WEATHERS is the reigning and humble champion who must contend with his competitors.
  • FILMORE is the old hippie VW Bus who talks and acts like such a character from the '60s.
  • SARGE is the brash jeep who's his friend, but always acts as if he's annoyed by him.
  • LIZZIE is the antique and somewhat scatterbrained resident of the town.
  • FLO is the sassy proprietor of the V-8 cafe and wife to RAMONE, the car body-art expert and low-rider.
  • LUIGI is the Italian tire shop owner who favors Italian sports cars over Lightning.
  • GUIDO is his faithful and speedy assistant.
  • SHERIFF is the local law who tries to keep Lightning in check.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this G-rated, animated comedy. Profanity consists of 2 uses of a minor expletive, while various colorful phrases are present, as is other potentially imitative behavior. Some subtle sexually related references occur, but like similar drug-related ones, they likely will completely go over younger kids' heads.

    Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, including a racecar that causes some crashes (thus injuring other characters since they are the cars, but it's apparently nothing too serious). Some property damage also occurs, as does a brief imagined bit of sci-fi violence (where missiles destroy alien tripods that are wrecking havoc on a town). A little bit of crude humor is present, as are a few brief scenes that might be unsettling or suspenseful to very young viewers, but probably to few others.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, there are flashes of light from the press taking many photos (in two scenes).

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, some of the racing scenes might induce that.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • After Lightning say he has no headlights as the track is always lit, a miscellaneous character says, "So is my brother, but he still needs headlights" (presumably a verbal joke using "lit" to mean drunkenness).
  • After Fillmore says he thinks that every third blink is longer on a flashing yellow traffic light, Sarge tells him, "The sixties weren't good to you, were they?" (presumably a drug reference).
  • Fillmore comments on his "homemade organic fuel" (another possible slight drug reference) and later that's referred to as "freak juice."
  • When the press find Lightning in the small town, one says they thought he had been in rehab.
  • BLOOD/GORE
    Crude humor includes the following:
  • After getting some attention, Mack embarrassedly asks, "What, did I forget to wipe my mud flaps?"
  • As some tractors tip over backwards, they backfire (somewhat like a fart).
  • When Lightning tells Mater that Doc won three Piston Cups, Mater misunderstands him and says, "He did what in his cup?"
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • We hear that Lightning is a rookie who likes working alone and has just fired his third crew chief. He's also egotistical in the presence of his pit crew that then quits because of that.
  • Chick purposefully bumps another car during a race and later bumps Lightning completely off the track. More contact later results in a massive pile-up on the track (cars hitting each other, etc. with Lightning swerving through them).
  • Lightning isn't enthusiastic about meeting with his sponsors (despite them footing his expenses).
  • Four hotrods swerve through traffic and then play some soothing music to make an already drowsy Mack fall asleep while driving down the road. They then have fun pushing him back and forth across the road.
  • Lightning has a condescending attitude toward the inhabitants of Radiator Springs, telling Sally (not realizing she's one of them) that they're not firing on all cylinders and that his IQ is dropping the longer he's there).
  • When Mater removes the boot off Lightning's tire, the racecar takes off, fleeing the scene and trying to avoid serving his sentence (but he runs out of gas since they siphoned him while he was asleep).
  • When Lightning is told that his road repair job looks awful, he callously replies that it matches the rest of the town.
  • In a spoof on cattle tipping (where people tip over sleeping cows at night), Mater has Lightning join him in doing something similar to tractors (depicted as cow-like). By blowing their horns or otherwise scaring them, the tractors then rear up and tip over backwards, leaving them stuck that way.
  • Other pit crew members (from another team) have a bad and condescending attitude toward Guido who's working for Lightning (but he shows them up with the fastest tire change ever).
  • During the big race, Chick purposefully bumps Lightning off the track and then causes Strip to have a bad wreck (he ends up in the infield, all dented, etc.).
  • Chick is egotistical after winning the race by cheating, and so others throw various objects at him (we only see the objects hitting him).
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Lightning ends up rolling out of the back of Mack (both are asleep). Lightning then wakes up to realize he's in oncoming traffic and races to get out of the way of the various vehicles, including several large trucks that nearly hit him.
  • Trying to catch up with a truck he believes to be Mack, Lightning races down the road in hopes of beating an approaching train at a railroad crossing (he just makes it).
  • A large and angry-looking combine named Frank chases after Mater and Lightning, with its spinning blades getting close to Lightning as they try to avoid them and him in a pasture (played for action-comedy, but some younger kids might find it intense).
  • Lightning has a brief nightmare where Frank the angry combine runs over a car on a racetrack.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Letting his fame and power go to his head, Lightning imagines a sci-fi scene where walking tripods blast cars on the road. He then flies in and fires off missiles that hit the pods, destroying them (a brief scene).
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "You idiot," "Call in the dogs, put out the fire," "You fool," "I'm a one-man show," "Welcome to the Chick era," "Thunder always comes after Lightning," "You got more talent in one lug nut than..." "Ka-chow," "You are wicked," "Snot-rod," "For dang sake," "You moron," "Boy, you're in a heap of trouble," "(Holy) Shoot," "Dadgum," "Quit your yappin,'" "Holy Porsche," "I'd give my left two lug nuts for something like that," "This place is crazy," "Nice Butte" (seen on a bumper sticker), "I'm in hillbilly hell," "Old-timer," "Float like a Cadillac, sting like a Beamer," "Freak juice," "Momma ain't seen you so low in years," what sounded like "Devil woman," "Punk," "Where the heck is he?" "What an idiot," "Even here in hillbilly hell we have standards," "Tractors is so dumb," "It's creeping me out," "He's nuts," "Take a carwash, hippie," "You're a sight for sore headlights," "Hot snot" and "Cover me in axle grease and call me slick."
  • After Lightning say he has no headlights as the track is always lit, a miscellaneous character says, "So is my brother, but he still needs headlights" (presumably a verbal joke using "lit" to mean drunkenness).
  • Mater makes throat clearing noises to hock up a "loogie," but doesn't finish that.
  • In a spoof on cattle tipping (where people tip over sleeping cows at night), Mater has Lightning join him in doing something similar to tractors (depicted as cow-like). By blowing their horns or otherwise scaring them, the tractors then rear up and tip over backwards, leaving them stuck that way.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A tiny bit of suspenseful music occurs in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 2 hells and 1 use of "Oh Lord."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Mater jokes that Sally "just likes me for my body" (which is old and rusty).
  • We see a bumper sticker that says "Nice Butte."
  • Seeing Sally drive away, Lightning comments on (and the camera focuses on) the pinstripe tattoo on her "rear end."
  • After Lightning says he'll be staying at Sally's motel (called the Cozy Cone), Mater jokingly teases him by saying, "Getting cozy at the cone, is we?"
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • None.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Racing and racecars.
  • Self-centered people.
  • Life in the fast lane and big city vs. the slower pace of a small town.
  • Doc's comment that all he sees (in Piston Cup trophies) is a bunch of empty cups.
  • Why Doc is so angry at Lightning.
  • A montage shows how the opening of the interstates affected small towns on the rural roads.
  • The comment that characters in the past drove on roads not to make time, but to have a good time.
  • Doc says that after he had a wreck in the '50s, everyone quit on him (despite him being "healed" and ready to go).
  • VIOLENCE
  • Chick purposefully bumps another car during a race and later bumps Lightning completely off the track. More contact later results in a massive pile-up on the track (cars hitting each other, etc. with Lightning swerving through them).
  • During a race, Lightning blows his tires (presumably an injury to his "body," but he's okay later) and then tries to scurry across the finish line before his competitors.
  • Letting his fame and power go to his head, Lightning imagines a sci-fi scene where walking tripods blast cars on the road. He then flies in and fires off missiles that hit the pods, destroying them (a brief scene).
  • While pursuing Lightning at night, the Sheriff backfires several times, causing Lightning to think the cop is shooting at him. He then races away, but gets tangled up in some barbwire and phone lines in Radiator Springs, thus causing some property damage (mainly the main road through town that's then all torn up).
  • During a race through the desert, Lightning runs off the road and down into a cactus patch.
  • Lightning drives off a short cliff (no impact seen), with a tall cactus then falling on him (also not seen in full). We later see pieces of cactus stuck on him.
  • Lightning has a brief nightmare where Frank the angry combine runs over a car on a racetrack.
  • During the big race, Chick purposefully bumps Lightning off the track and then causes Strip to have a bad wreck (he ends up in the infield, all dented, etc.).
  • Chick is egotistical after winning the race by cheating, and so others throw various objects at him (we only see the objects hitting him).



  • Reviewed May 19, 2006 / Posted June 9, 2006

    Other new and recent reviews include:

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