JoBlo.com previews this week's new releases: June 24, 2011
At JoBlo.com, we feel it’s our duty to keep you informed and satisfied. You want to know what your big choices are at the theater each weekend, and we’re happy to reach out and give you the full release.
Who’s In It? Voices of Owen Wilson, Cheech Marin, Larry the Cable Guy, Tony Shalhoub, Jeff Garlin, Emily Mortimer, Michael Caine, Eddie Izzard, Bonnie Hunt, Franco Nero, John Ratzenberger, John Turturro, Joe Mantegna, Thomas Kretschmann
Who Made It? Directed by John Lasseter & Brad Lewis (Pixar/Disney)
What Is It? Pixar pays another visit to their virtual world populated only by anthropomorphic automobiles. Most of the original CARS voice cast returns (RIP Paul Newman) to join some British and European talent, as hero vehicle Lightning McQueen (Wilson) and redneck towtruck Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) venture overseas for the World Grand Prix, only to find themselves mixed up in international intrigue with spy car Finn McMissile (Michael Caine). Wacky espionage occurs, 3D glasses are fiddled with, and toys fly off shelves.
How’s It Look From Here? Among older audiences, CARS doesn't seem to be one of Pixar's most popular movies, but it definitely gets the mini motors running in the kiddie crowd. Cynical though it may sound, out of the Pixar filmography CARS seems the most like it was engineered to sell toys (yes, even more than three movies about toys), and the billions made from its merchandise either supports that theory or is a nice coincidence for the studio.
Either way, Lasseter has stated it's the most personal Pixar production to him, and as the Disney animation honcho, he can essentially do what he wants. So another CARS is barreling down the cinematic highway while we wait another two years for more Sully and Mike Wazowski and ponder whether we'll ever see the Parr family slip into costume again.
Who’s In It? Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, Justin Timberlake, Lucy Punch, John Michael Higgins
Who Made It? Directed by Jake Kasdan (Columbia)
What Is It? After getting the boot by her meal ticket, a conniving, cursing woman heads to her old teaching job and puts the moves on a wealthy (??) substitute teacher while fending off other advances. Students shoot and stab and bully each other, assuming it's anything like a real-life school.
How’s It Look From Here? Kasdan's efforts haven't lived up to his excellent debut (ZERO EFFECT), and while he's got a script from "The Office" writers Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg, their last feature credit was the dreadfully unfunny YEAR ONE.
Timberlake has proven his comic chops on SNL, and Segel has the amusing shlubby thing down cold. But I remain confounded by Hollywood's insistence that Cameron Diaz, with her often ghoulish and definitely-not-for-hi-def visage, is a leading actress I actually want to watch. And it's questionable whether teens who just started summer vacation will already want to go back to school (fictional or otherwise).
Unless you want to get caught in the stampede of small feet, the raunchy R-rated counterprogramming of ostensible comedy is the only alternative unless you check the backlog of superheroes or wait for the robotic pandemonium of next Wednesday's TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON.