Movie Review: The formulaic Cars 3 may be the the clunkiest jalopy on the whole Pixar lot

If there’s a platonic ideal of all-ages entertainment, Pixar has hit it on multiple occasions. The animation house’s greatest triumphs, like WALL-E or the Toy Story movies or the recent Inside Out, tend to delight the young and old alike, because they locate a common ground, rather than trying to compartmentalize their pleasures for different members of the family. On the mercenary flip side of this strategy is the Cars franchise. From their goofy wordplay and exaggerated accents to the basic toy-store appeal of their anthropomorphized automobiles, these colorful comic adventures are probably the most consistently juvenile of Pixar’s fantasias. At the same time, Cars was also designed to set off waves of boomer nostalgia—for small-town values, for old-school Americana, for the classic car culture of a bygone era. It’s no mystery, really, why these films are at once insanely profitable and less than critically …

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