Written by / 7/28/2013 / No comments / , , , , , , ,

TURBO VS DESPICABLE ME 2

year: 2013 cast: Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Ken Jeong, Steve Carell, Kristin Wiig rating: *1/2 rating: **
Since Disney, many years ago, provided a human-like Volkswagen Bug racing in Monte Carlo, perhaps the competing DreamWorks could have a Snail competing in the Indy 500 make sense. Even for a cartoon this premise is farfetched and downright preposterous, but the worst scenes are those leading up to the big race.

Actually, the first twenty minutes aren’t too bad: getting to know TURBO, a snail who dreams of being a race car driver… or rather, being the car and driver both… while working with his snail buddies in a community that lives a suburban home’s vegetable garden.

While the movie works for kids during the initial setup in the colorful garden world, there are scenes where crows swoop down and quickly kill several snails. Of course we never get to know those particular characters to make those deaths sad, but they are shocking.

Although when Turbo’s best buddy Chet (voiced with melancholy sarcasm by Paul Giamatti) gets snagged by one of the killer crows, Turbo, who gained the power of becoming a jet-powered hot rod after being sucked inside an engine during a local race, goes to the rescue and both snails wind up saved, or captured, or both, by one of the most annoying cartoon and/or computer-animated characters in history: a fat twenty-something Latino named Tito whose uncle owns a taco stand, one of several stores in a forsaken outdoor mall with shops run by other completely uninteresting characters. For some reason, Tito and his friends race snails in a mechanic's garage, and here they discover a lucrative potential for advertisement.

The commercials and trailers set up the other hot rodding snails, voiced by Sam Jackson and Snoop Dogg to name a few, as if they were actually part of the storyline, and yet they have hardly anything to do with Turbo’s goal, instigated by Tito to save his uncle’s store: competing in the Indy 500 against a conceited human superstar. All scenes leading up are tortuous and lame, and you’ll be glad once the revving competition is underway since it means the end is near.

Meanwhile DESPICABLE ME 2 is a kiddie film with potential… for adults. The premise centers on Steve Carell’s formerly world-renowned villain: after adopting daughters, Cru has, along with a bevy of one-eyed alien minions, turned into a mundane suburban father. Till Kristin Wiig’s Lucy brings Cru back into the  business to, like Hannibal Lecter, help find a similar bad guy. The best scene has obvious love interest Lucy taking Cru to her underground compound in a car much like James Bond’s in THE SPY WHO LOVED ME. Leading to an intriguing premise: within a large busy mall, one of the store owners could be the next villain who wants to take over the world. It’s during the undercover investigation the film drags with prolonged musical numbers and an overlong conclusion dealing with a familiar enemy (to Cru). The aliens running around clumsily are humorous but can get tiresome after a while.

Despite the flaws, children will keep interested throughout, unlike TURBO: youngins were yawning halfway through that slugfest.
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