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

39%

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

44%

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

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