Enjoying his time away from racing in Radiator Springs, Lightning McQueen is goaded by his best friend Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) into entering the World Grand Prix, which takes place in Tokyo, Rome, and London. At the first event Mater embarrasses McQueen and then goes on to cost him the race. Depressed, the lovable tow truck soon meets two secret agents (Michael Caine and Emily Mortimer) and soon becomes involved in a complex espionage mission. The original Cars was probably the weakest link in Pixar's titanium chain, but it still offered a story that adults could enjoy. With Cars 2, the animation company breaks their string of sturdy offerings that appeal to adults and children alike, and makes a feature that is just like every other inane computer animated film. Yes, the visuals are of the highest quality and the company was wise to hire Michael Caine for voicework to replace the late great Paul Newman, but the story is not strong enough to maintain interest and the jokes are geared towards little kids. This isn't so much of a sequel to Cars as it is a spinoff of that movie for the Larry the Cable Guy's character, whose in it for so much and whose voice is only tolerable for so long. Although this is not on the same level as the other Pixar work, it is a modest and watchable entry, and with three new interesting titles in the work (a fourth Toy Story, a second Monster's Inc., and Brave, an original) I'm sure the studio will be working at the same level it made its reputation on.
The movie opens with a short featuring the Toy Story characters called Hawaiian Vacation where Ken and Barbie aren't taken along with the family for their vacation, and are treated to a holiday anyways courtesy of the other toys. It is well made and funny and made me long for some of the other Pixar titles while the feature played.