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Cars

By Kimberly Sielen

 

Release Date: June 9, 2006

MPAA RATING: G
Voices of: Owen Wilson, Paul Newman, Bonnie Hunt, Larry the Cable Guy
Genre: Animated comedy

Recommended Age: 6+

 

Pixar's string of hits is guaranteed to continue with Cars, a revved-up adventure that families with children six and up will enjoy. 

 

Actor/comedian Owen Wilson voices Lightning McQueen, the youngest car ever set to win the Piston Cup Championship.  He is so sure of himself that he skips a crucial pit stop and blows out a tire, a move that leads to a three-way tie with The King (Richard Petty), a veteran car who has won countless races, and the scheming Chick Hicks (Michael Keaton).  To determine the true champion, the cars must travel across the country for a tiebreaking race.

 

During the journey, the hatch on the trailer transporting Lightning opens, and he accidentally slides out while asleep, stranding him on the freeway.  After a series of mishaps, Lightning ends up at an impound lot in Radiator Springs, a small town left in the dust after the interstate was built.  As a punishment for disturbing the peace—and destroying their road—Lightning is sentenced to repave it before he can leave town.  Thinking he is too good for the task, Lightning does a poor job, and tries to escape.  However, the residents of Radiator Springs are smart—they have siphoned most of his gas so he can only travel a short distance.  The local sheriff and Doc, the town judge with a mysterious past (Paul Newman), force him to redo it all.  The second time around, Lightning slows down and learns to enjoy his surroundings, taking time to befriend Mater (Larry the Cable Guy), an old rusty tow truck, and Sally (Bonnie Hunt), a Porsche originally from LA.  As each day passes the race draws nearer, and Lightning must make a choice to either stay in Radiator Springs, the only place that has ever felt like home, or return to the adrenaline-filled world of racing.

 

Cars contains minimal offensive content.  Profanity is limited to two uses of "hillbilly hell" (Lightning's first impression of Radiator Springs), and "shoot" is used a few times.  In addition, minor suggestive references such as "I'd give my left two lug nuts to work with Bessie," "holy Porsche," and "nice butte" (which is written on a bumper sticker) are used infrequently.  There is no violence but the race scenes are intense:  cars flip over, and Chick Hicks drives aggressively, sideswiping other cars and cutting them off.   Sexual content is quite tame, involving flirty behavior displayed by fans and sponsors, parodying real races.  Overall, the positive messages, like not judging others on first impressions, and the loyalty of friends, far outweigh the negative, making Cars an entertaining ride for children six and up.


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