Cars 2

Voices of Larry the Cable Guy, Owen Wilson and Michael Caine

Directed by John Lasseter and Brad Lewis
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 3.5
Community: star rating
5 3.5 0
June 23, 2011

I blow a piston whenever 2006's Cars gets trashed as the runt of the Pixar litter. Among the 11 computer-animated Pixar gems, Cars may not match The Incredibles, WALL-E, Up and the Toy Story trilogy. But A Bug's Life sure eats its dust. I could go on, but Cars 2, number 12 in the Pixar hit parade, should end the debate. The sequel is a tire-burning burst of action and fun with a beating heart under its hood. OK, I'm not sure Cars 2 needed all that fancified 3D, but you can bet it'll rev your engines. Original director John Lasseter is back behind the wheel, and you can feel his love for all things automotive in every frame. No humans blot this anthropomorphic romp. Cars do all the talking.

Working from a fluid script by Ben Queen, Lasseter and co-director Brad Lewis move their race-car hero, Lightning McQueen (dazzlingly drawled by Owen Wilson), out of run-down Radiator Springs and onto the global stage. Lightning is competing in the World Grand Prix, which takes him to England, France, Italy and Japan. Along with Lightning is his BFF, Mater, a hilariously unhip rust bucket of a tow truck voiced by redneck philosopher Larry the Cable Guy with such humor and warmth you want to take him home. With apologies to everything else on four wheels, Cars 2 is Mater's show. And Larry the Cable Guy is a hoot and a half. Turns out Lasseter has a jones for spy movies, which lets Mater mix it up with two new characters, classy British spy Finn McMissile (Michael Caine purring like a 007-era Aston Martin) and hot rookie Holley Shiftwell (Emily Mortimer), who mistake Mater's cluelessness for a brilliant disguise. Will Lightning win the race? That's less important than whether Lightning will let his career wreck his friendship with Mater. It's the Pixar touch of valuing feeling over frenzy that makes Cars 2 a winner.

Related: Video: Peter Travers Reviews Cars 2 in "At the Movies With Peter Travers"
The 12 Must-See Summer Movies — Plus Five Unheralded Gems and Five More to Skip
The Complete Archive: Over 20 Years of Peter Travers' Movie Reviews

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories


    Mariah Carey | 1995

    Serendipity stuck when Mariah Carey rediscovered the glitchy Tom Tom Club hook, a sample of which is the heart of this upbeat slice of dance pop. "I had the melody idea for 'Fantasy' and I was listening to the radio and heard 'Genius of Love,' and I hadn't heard it in a long time," Carey said. "It reminded me of growing up and listening to the radio and that feeling the song gave me seemed to go with the melody and basic idea I had for 'Fantasy.' I initially told [co-writer] Dave Hall about the idea, and we did it. We called up the Tom Tom Club and they were really into it."

    More Song Stories entries »