This week, we’ve got a film for kids, a film involving kids, and a film about a guy who gets paid to act like a kid. I’m not sure any of that information actually means anything, but it looks good in an intro paragraph.
How does Cars 2 match up to other Pixar films? Does Cameron Diaz pull off her role as bad teacher? Is it weird watching Conan O’Brien’s pasty skin on the big screen? You’ll get the answer to those questions and more in this week’s edition of What’s Playing?
If you liked Cars, I’ve got some good news. The gang from the original is back, and this time, they’re competing with cars from around the globe in the first ever World Grand Prix.
I blow a piston whenever 2006’s Cars gets trashed as the runt of the Pixar litter. The sequel is a tire-burning burst of action and fun with a beating heart under its hood.
Peter Travers – Rolling Stone
Mater is dumb, excitable and puppy-dog loyal, his idiot-savant automotive expertise grounded in humble, blue-collar simplicity. I doubt anyone will protest much, but Pixar has now found its redneck Jar-Jar Binks. Such a proud moment.
A.O. Scott – New York Times
While it might not be the best of the bunch, anything with the name Pixar on it is going to be at least tolerable, especially if you’re stuck taking kids to the movies. And with the top critics split, there’s a reasonable chance you might enjoy it.
As the tag line says, some teachers just don’t give an F. Unfortunately, some film critics do.
“Bad Teacher” is exactly the one-joke movie that you probably expect it to be, but there are enough variations and shadings of that one joke to sustain its brief running time — just barely.
Christy Lemire – Associated Press
We’re not on Elizabeth’s side, or anyone else’s, really. We’re just watching a film try to pass off misanthropic blunt-wittedness as ”edge.”
Owen Gleiberman – Entertainment Weekly
If you’re in the mood for a comedy, Bad Teacher might get the job done. But based on the lackluster reviews, you’re probably better off waiting for something better.
Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop is a behind the scenes look at O’Brien’s 32-city comedy tour that took place after his less-than-amicable departure from NBC.
If the principal audience for “Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop” is obviously the comedian’s legions of fans, it’s probably most interesting as a detached study of the workings of fame.
Andrew O’Hehir – Salon.com
The whole thing becomes a sort of “Song of Myself” for needy multimillionaire comics at work and play.
Michael Phillips – Chicago Tribune
Overall, reviews have been favorable, with the film currently holding a 79% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes. That seems to indicate that even non-fans can find something to enjoy about this film. Or, you can always sit at home eating prunes and watching Leno.