My expectations run high for a Pixar film. I hoped I would like Cars as much as I love Monsters, Inc. and Finding Nemo and The Incredibles. I wasn't sure how involving a movie starring automobiles would work, but I was sure Pixar would make it work for me. Cars may be a good children's movie (especially compared to the other choices for kids), but it's only an average Pixar film; I would put it on the same level as Toy Story 2. It's never a good sign when the funniest, most entertaining part of a movie are the closing credits.
The storyline is predictable: Rookie race car Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) is scheduled to compete in a three-way race with racing legend The King (retired NASCAR legend Richard Petty), and Chick Hicks (Michael Keaton), an obnoxious attention hog. Lightning (I cannot bring myself to call him "McQueen" -- it reminds me of someone I would rather have watched) is too self-centered; he can't keep a pit crew or a crew chief, and doesn't have any true friends. Racing has consumed his whole life. So when Lightning gets lost on the road in the middle of the night in a small town called Radiator Springs and becomes entangled in the town's problems ... we all know what's going to happen.