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Cars 2: Got R Over Done? Too Much Mater?

It wouldn’t be fair (or accurate) to call “Cars 2″ a critical crash and burn. But Pixar films are held to a higher standard, and based on early reviews, this may be the worst reviewed Pixar film yet.

"Cars 2" Disney Pixar

A.O. Scott of The New York Times remarks that the movie is “built to move merchandise.” The film, Scott writes, “takes the bold, arguably generous and ultimately calamitous step of pushing its lovable, goofy second banana to the center of the action.” That “second banana” is, of course, Mater. “Lightning’s racing exploits are secondary.”

TIME magazine has a similar take. Mary Pols writes that “this ['Cars 2'] is Mater’s movie. It’s a Materthon. I would call it Materific if he didn’t leave me longing for ‘WALL-E’s’ robot to crush him into a silent cube.” Pols also contends that the movie’s basic premise (that asking a friend to change his or her behavior is bad) just doesn’t work.

Geoff Berkshire of Metromix gives the movie two out of five stars and laments the film’s “forced emphasis on misunderstood country bumpkin Mater.” That story, he writes, “never achieves the intended emotional weight — he’s a rube with a heart of gold, a simpleton out of place next to Pixar’s more complex and multilayered heroes.”

But hold the phone. There are also plenty of critics who are giving the movie positive marks. Todd McCarthy from The Hollywood Reporter likes what he saw. “Lightning and Mater mix it up with Formula 1 and spies in yet another Pixar winner,” he writes. McCarthy also praises Director John Lasseter for keeping the flick “running at close to the red line from start to finish with nary a pit stop to refuel.”

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times also had a fine time at the movies. He gives “Cars 2″ three and a half out of four stars and calls the movie “fun.” He also praises the amazing visuals and attention to detail and points out that Mater is the true star of “Cars 2″ — but unlike other critics, Ebert doesn’t seem to mind that.

Credit to Mike Krumboltz of Yahoo! Movies

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