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

DC Comics Polls and Games police drama serial killer cults DC streaming service supernatural Paramount ABC Family 45 Western Lionsgate Pirates Box Office Disney Channel Kids & Family The CW discovery Fantasy Writers Guild of America Calendar Netflix Fox News Warner Bros. Action Nat Geo TCA 2017 TLC OWN Adult Swim adventure American Society of Cinematographers BBC Rom-Com Ghostbusters Reality Competition CBS All Access History YA Red Carpet composers El Rey MTV Schedule GoT AMC Sony Pictures Sci-Fi Sundance Now SDCC war VH1 APB Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt ratings GIFs golden globes Drama President harry potter medical drama IFC Films what to watch USA Network science fiction Video Games Winter TV Super Bowl psycho TNT romance NYCC LGBTQ HBO cats Esquire 007 MSNBC Dark Horse Comics cops Music Marvel Comedy Central Cartoon Network thriller Logo historical drama Mary Tyler Moore E3 social media WGN Photos Marathons Universal boxoffice 2015 Interview zombie Emmys Mystery Hulu Star Wars Sundance TBS Podcast sitcom The Arrangement Countdown NBC See It Skip It ESPN ABC FOX Opinion Character Guide Freeform Valentine's Day Ellie Kemper CMT E! period drama BET Election Star Trek biography First Look FXX Reality CW Seed Comedy Premiere Dates Spring TV dramedy Britbox Rocky Grammys Trivia Starz X-Men Certified Fresh based on movie GLAAD Watching Series 21st Century Fox cinemax TruTV Martial Arts Christmas TCA Fall TV Cosplay Bravo Creative Arts Emmys aliens Mindy Kaling Awards Syfy justice league TCM FX Food Network Superheroes CNN Nickelodeon Spike Pop dceu Disney Crackle Musical Rock PBS Pixar Holidays Biopics IFC DirecTV docudrama 2017 diversity Comic Book TV Land Toys 20th Century Fox comiccon spy thriller Best and Worst TV RT History transformers USA Acorn TV travel Animation sports dc 2016 Teen binge Set visit Country Tumblr Year in Review Thanksgiving crime thriller Nominations Showtime Trailer Masterpiece SundanceTV Horror 24 frames technology singing competition political drama vampires A&E Amazon ITV Lucasfilm Lifetime cooking Summer Sneak Peek CBS VICE Musicals talk show DC Universe Oscars unscripted Infographic PaleyFest Extras BBC America crime Paramount Network Tomatazos Winners crime drama TIFF politics