When a movie rakes in enough green, green, filthy money to necessitate a sequel, there's a pretty standard set of solutions studios employ to resolve the cognitive dissonance of basically repackaging the same movie -- the villain returns from hell, for example, or there's another mystery to solve -- but one of the hoariest has got to be the old set-it-in-a-foreign-country trick, à la Sex in the City 2 and other pieces of crap we wish we could forget. And while Cars 2 admittedly looks a lot better than Carrie and Co. -- and as heartbreaking as this is to acknowledge -- it seems that even Pixar, a studio to which we happily gave our hearts three times for Toy Story, is finally breaking down and just phoning one in. Oh, Pixar. We're not even mad. We're just disappointed.
Things start off promisingly enough here, and no doubt, that first scene over the ocean is beautifully rendered -- also, nice touch on making the British-spy car an Aston Martin. But it all goes downhill -- like precipitous nosedive downhill -- from there.
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Though the first installation was serviceable, Cars has always been one of Pixar's weakest links and doubtless the one least deserving of a sequel -- that's at least partly owing to Tow Mater, a grating comic-relief foil who is pretty much the Jar-Jar Binks of the Pixar empire. But don't worry, kids who love poop jokes! He's getting plenty of screen time here in a Pink Panther-esque subplot that involves not only his trademark redneck malapropisms but also a variety of subtle and hilarious racism! LOL Mater, you're not a geisha!
And like the best classy prostitutes, the Cars 2 trailer waits until the end for the best part, a one-two combo of laughs at those crazy Japanese folks and the incredibly unsettling image of an animated tow truck getting an unexpected enema. Which, come to think of it, is pretty much exactly how this trailer makes us feel.