Year: 2006
Production Co: Pixar
Studio: Disney
Director: John Lasseter
Cast: Owen Wilson, Paul Newman, Bonie Hunt, Cheech Marin, Tony Shalhoub, George Carlin, Katherine Helmond, Michael Keaton, jeremy Piven, Edie McClurg, Jay Leno, Mario Andretti
Most people called John Lasseter's return to the director's chair Pixar's weakest movie. I would submit instead that - as cartoons and essentially kids movies (as any 'family' movie must be), no Pixar film has been worth the hysteria most of the film press has bestowed on it over the past ten years.

Sure they're well written, but so should every film be. They're well acted and the digital characters seem just like their human counterparts, but praising that is only admitting how far below standard so many other movies fall.

A cute tale about the virtues of slowing down taken from Lasseter's own life as he left directing to travel with his family, it tells of a racing car (Wilson) in a completely car-populated world who gets abandoned in a nowhere town on Route 66 and has to learn about all the requisite kids movie crap; family, friendship, loyalty and some new ones like stopping to smell the flowers and the dying heartland of America.

Lots of fast in-jokes make it fun for adults as well, and the real triumph for Pixar (once again) is that for the first time in history a film company exists for whom 'family' doesn't just mean 'kids'. Technically brilliant and lots of detail but they're also smart in saying none of that works without the story and characters being right.

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