A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
This collection of shorts is intended to entertain rather than educate.
Mater's stories show how versatile a truck he is and how he's always able to get out of sticky situations with his perseverance and hard-work. It also shows that it's never too late to try a new hobby or job, because it could lead to greatness.
Positive Role Models
Mater and Lightning are very faithful friends to each other. Mater saves his new alien friend and helps him get home.
Violence & Scariness
A monster-truck rally shows some aggressive competitors, and in a "matador" section, it briefly seems as if Mater has been buried to death. The alien "Mater" is about to be operated on when Mater rescues him.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Twin "female" cars show up again and again to swoon over Mater in every segment.
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Products & Purchases
While there's no product placement or overt consumerism in these shorts, the Cars movie has an extensive merchandise line that kids will be very familiar with.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The VW Bus seems under the influence and says "far out" with a stoned-sounding voice, but that's something only parents will pick up on.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Cars Toon: Mater's Tall Tales that centers around Cars character Mater contains nothing objectionable for kids, although there's one brief moment when it looks like Mater has been buried. Romance is in the air for one moment in each segment when smitten twin lady cars appear again and again to flirt with Mater. Other than exposing kids to the Pixar world of movies and merchandise, there's no consumerism involved, and kids may just learn how clever the animators are to give vehicles such nuanced human personality traits. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Anyone who likes the gang from Cars will love this collection of Mater-inspired shorts. Even though Cars Toon: Mater's Tall Tales is not a feature film, this collection is made by Pixar, which means a standard of animation, dialogue, and voice-acting that's nearly unparalleled in the film industry. No musical numbers like in regular Disney animated productions, but Mater's stints as various kinds of trucks are clever and silly and will be loved by even the youngest of viewers. In some ways Mater's casual description of extraordinary jobs -- going to the moon, fronting a heavy-metal band, competing in a monster truck rally -- is reminiscent of the way that other slightly clueless, but lovable animated character Homer Simpson has done it all.
Predictably, Owen Wilson is not the voice of Lightning McQueen, as he is in the feature-length film, but that's OK, because Ferguson doesn't have to say much more than "I don't believe that" over and over again. This is, without a doubt, the best thing Larry the Cable Guy has done outside of his stand-up work since, well, Cars. Pay attention, and you'll even hear Mater say Larry's signature catchphrase, "git-r-done."
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate