Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Cars 2 is Stuck in Neutral

Plus, Bad Teacher doesn't quite pass the test.

by | June 24, 2011 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got animated autos (Cars 2, with voice work from Owen Wilson and Larry the Cable Guy) and execrable educators (Bad Teacher, starring Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake). What do the critics have to say?

Cars 2


Pixar’s output has been so good for so long that it seemed unfathomable that one of the studio’s films would get a less-than-rapturous response from critics. Well, all good things must come to an end, and that now includes Pixar’s streak of Certified Fresh releases; critics say Cars 2 looks fantastic, but the studio’s trademark storytelling prowess and character development is MIA here, and the result is a decent animated feature that must count as a big disappointment, given the standards that Pixar has set for itself. This time out, Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) is off to a big international race with his best buddy Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) in, ahem, tow. Soon, though Mater finds himself in the middle of a secret espionage mission. Will he still be able to help Lightning in his quest to be the fastest car in the world? The pundits say Cars 2 is visually delightful, but its plot is uninspired, and it’s over reliant on gags and shtick instead of an interesting story. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we run though Pixar’s filmography in chronological order.)

Bad Teacher


There’s no shortage of tasteless Hollywood comedies in the world, but it’s rare that a movie gets criticized for not being tasteless enough. However, such is the case with Bad Teacher, which critics say has moments of raunchy hilarity but doesn’t quite fulfill its outrageous premise. Cameron Diaz stars as Elizabeth, a boozy, wildly inappropriate middle school teacher who’s looking for a sugar daddy so she can leave her job behind. Elizabeth falls for a hunky substitute teacher (Justin Timberlake), but she’s got a rival for his affections, and soon, her scheming and bad behavior starts to affect the whole school. The pundits say Bad Teacher benefits from a sharp performance from Diaz, but it sags in spots, and it’s never quite as wild and transgressive as it should be.

Also opening this week in limited release:

Tag Cloud

Showtime Universal Rom-Com Pirates Kids & Family IFC Logo CBS GLAAD Disney VICE Infographic Nickelodeon DirecTV crime thriller Spring TV Extras Sci-Fi Lifetime Fall TV Marvel Nominations Valentine's Day TNT sitcom Starz First Look CBS All Access Martial Arts HBO Comedy Comedy Central El Rey Video Games science fiction Summer VH1 TCM GoT 2015 Action NYCC President Calendar ABC Family Country PaleyFest Cartoon Network Lionsgate A&E CNN politics Hulu Premiere Dates Syfy SDCC E! 24 frames discovery TBS MTV Crackle Winter TV Amazon FXX TCA Rock Trailer Thanksgiving harry potter TCA 2017 Awards Interview travel TruTV Toys Horror USA WGN MSNBC Grammys Music Year in Review Marathons diversity LGBTQ ITV ABC singing competition CMT Rocky Star Wars Watching Series thriller FOX sports Polls and Games GIFs ESPN serial killer BBC Superheroes Animation Exclusive Video NBC Winners PBS BET 2016 Food Network Ghostbusters Bravo 007 Drama Certified Fresh BBC America Holidays The CW Fox News period drama Cosplay vampires Netflix Reality Reality Competition DC Comics Masterpiece Esquire Oscars comiccon Pop social media Mystery Election FX Nat Geo 2017 Countdown Photos Set visit Biopics History Disney Channel Sneak Peek adventure dramedy crime drama Opinion Schedule OWN TV Land Fantasy AMC Writers Guild of America Tomatazos Emmys TIFF American Society of Cinematographers boxoffice cooking Best and Worst cinemax Podcast Tumblr Freeform Trivia Musicals Sundance Character Guide Adult Swim Box Office docudrama SundanceTV Red Carpet