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'Cars 2': What the Critics Are Saying

Disney/Pixar

Pixar's latest film is filling up its box office coffers despite mixed reviews.

Mixed reviews have not stopped audiences from flocking to Cars 2. The sequel hummed along Friday to an opening day tally of $25.7 million despite what some called a lack of "soul or sublimity" and "the most unneccesary sequel of the year."

The New York Times' A.O. Scott writes, "Cars 2 is certainly built to move merchandise -- this series may surpass even the Toy Story films as an effective advertisement for licensed playthings -- but it is notably lacking in soul or sublimity."

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"Cars 2 wins the award for the most unnecessary sequel of the year -- at least until someone makes another Jonah Hex movie," complains Marshall Fine of the Huffington Post. "But unlike every previous Pixar film except Cars, Cars 2 suffers from a script that can't get any traction when it comes to making an actual joke. The story is muddled, the writing is flat -- and, oh yeah, this turns out to be Pixar's contribution to the Larry the Cable Guy phenomenon."

New York Post film critic Kyle Smith was most offended by the film's attempts at humor. He writes, "Much of the comic energy is generated by dumb puns (karate is "carate," a sportscaster is Brent Mustangburger). Things are so dull, rote and humorless that when signboards in a European scene read 'Mondiale Grand Prix,' I at first thought they said 'Mondale Grand Prix,' which sounds like an unwanted award this movie could easily win."

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A general consensus is that the sequel is a revved up version of the original. The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy writes, "The visual, verbal and musical jokes practically exceed the speed limit; one blink-and-you-miss-it gag shows the marquee of the local drive-in promoting 'The Incredimobiles.' The San Francisco Chronicle's Mick LaSalle agrees, "The whole visual atmosphere of Cars 2 is more expansive and free than its predecessor and more of a delight to watch."

Positive reviews of the film focused on its thematic qualities. Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times says the movie "never forgets the heartfelt sensibility that is its dramatic heritage. Cars 2 teaches gentle kid-friendly lessons about the importance of friendship and being yourself."

Patrick Olsen of the Miami Herald concurs, "While Cars 2 has a different visual feel from the first movie, with Tokyo, Paris and London (among other places) remade through the eyes of car lovers, it has an underlying message that’s not too far removed from the first, which was, 'Take time to see the world around you.' The message this time is 'Be who you are no matter where you are.' "