Owen Wilson as Lightning McQueen (voice)
Larry the Cable Guy as Mater (voice)
Bonnie Hunt as Sally (voice)
Paul Newman as Doc Hudson (voice)
George Carlin as Filmore (voice)
Bob Costas as Bob Cutlass (voice)
Paul Dooley as Sarge (voice)
Katherine Helmond as Lizzie (voice)
Michael Keaton as Chick Hicks (voice)
Jenifer Lewis as Flo (voice)
Ray Magliozzi as Clunk (voice)
Tom Magliozzi as Clink (voice)
Cheech Marin as Ramone (voice)
Richard Petty as ‘The King’ Strip Weathers (voice)
Guido Quaroni as Guido (voice)
John Ratzenberger as Mack (voice)
Tony Shalhoub as Luigi (voice)
Michael Wallis as Sheriff (voice)
Darrell Waltrip as Darrell Cartrip (voice)
“Cars” is Rated G.
The voice cast is a solid one. While I wasn’t too keen on Wilson as McQueen in the trailers, he does a fine job in the feature. It was also a nice touch to see Nascar veterans like Richard Petty and Darrell Waltrip voicing their respective race cars. The true stand out is Larry the Cable Guy. His slow-witted tow truck Mater is the appointed comic relief of the movie and he eats it up. Michael Keaton also gets good mileage out of his Chick Hicks, the dirty driving rival of young McQueen. The Italian tire shop duo also steals a few scenes.
The soundtrack is also very good – with reworked pop hits like Tom Cochrane’s Life is a Highway (faithfully redone – and perhaps unnecessarily – by Rascal Flatts) and new tunes like Sheryl Crow’s Real Gone. John Mayer’s version of Route 66 also plays well.
What Didn’t Work:
Second, the ‘love’ story between Lightning and Sally is weak, but then again – they’re CARS! It is hard enough for two actors on screen to form good chemistry, much less when there are two digital automobiles trying to express feelings for one another.
The last point that I think will drag “Cars” down a bit is the fact that these ARE cars not toys, bugs, monsters or fish, but cars. Moviegoers can be sold that bugs might talk to one another, or fish – or that some fantastical monster world exists, but dealing the world of unemotional dumb iron loses some of the cute factor that the other Pixar movies had. One might wonder what happens with the toys in a little boy’s room when no one is around, but how many people can say the same for the Beamer in their garage in the middle of the night? The use of automobiles is a tougher fantasy sell. It might hurt the film a little, but Pixar knows the rabid NASCAR fans can more than offset any dip that may cause.
In the end, “Cars” is good fun. Not the best Pixar effort, but even a mediocre Pixar movie is better than most films at the Cineplex. It should do well at the box office. And by all means, keep your seats as the credit role on this one hands down the biggest laugh in the film actually occurs after it’s done!