A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What 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.
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What's the story?
CARS TOON: MATER'S TALL TALES is a series of shorts featuring Cars tow-truck, Mater (voiced by Larry the Cable Guy), who tells Lightning McQueen (veteran voice actor Keith Ferguson) "tall tales" about his stints as a stunt-truck, fire-rescue-truck, doctor, monster-truck, matador, garage-band singer, "autonaut," and more. Every time Mater starts a new story, Lightning insists he's making things up and then Mater says, "Don't you remember? You was there too," and the scene shifts to show how the race car was indeed present. Although the shorts concentrate on Mater and Lightning, there are glimpses of other Radiator Springs friends, like the VW Bus Fillmore (obviously not voiced by the late George Carlin any more).
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."
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about tall tales and why they are so fun to listen to -- even if they're too good to be true. Do you think Mater is telling the truth in Cars Toon: Mater's Tall Tales?
Do you think watching movies like this make you more likely to buy merchandise with Cars characters on it?
Lightning and Mater don't have much in common but are great friends. How can this apply to real-life friendships?
The cars in this universe are made with human traits. How does the kind of vehicle a character is and what kind of voice they have say about their personalities?
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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.
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