Reviewed by Kevin Finnerty
“Slow down for a second,” yells Chet (Paul Giamatti). “Are you kidding?! I’m never going slow again,” yells back Turbo (Ryan Reynolds), a garden snail who – after being exposed to some nitrous oxide in a freak accident – is now the fastest snail in the world in the animated comedy movie Turbo.
All his life Turbo has dreamed of going fast and of one day being in the Indy 500. Of course, being a snail, this seemed to be an impossible dream and made Turbo the laughing stock of the garden amongst all the garden snails. One night after accidentally breaking the television in the garage where Turbo always watches the car racing coverage, the sad snail slowly slugs away moping. But after a freak accident involving nitrous oxide, Turbo discovers to his amazement he’s the fastest snail in the world.
The next day Turbo uses his great speed to save his older brother Chet from a few hungry crows, and both of them get snailnapped by Tito (Michael Pena), a truck driver and taco salesman whose hobby is snail races. After showing off for Tito in his first race and making friends with the other snails led by Whiplash (Samuel L. Jackson), Turbo begins slowly indicating to Tito – as best a snail can – that he should enter him to race in the INDY 500.
Cute and funny, Turbo is a routine, predictable underdog story that’s elevated by its very talented voice cast. Paul Giamatti is perfect, bringing to life Chet the overprotective big brother who just can’t bring himself to understand or support Turbo’s dream even after it becomes obvious that his little brother is exceptionally fast. Ryan Reynolds is solid as the voice of Turbo, the snail who dreams of speed but who deep down wants his brother’s support. It’s the snail brothers whose story have any kind of emotional impact, as well as a little humor.
Samuel L. Jackson is…Samuel L. Jackson. As Whiplash, he’s the cool, laid-back leader of the racing snails. Thankfully there’s not too much of Whiplash or Jackson would steal and upstage the film from the main characters.
The animation looks great with bright, vibrant colors and the action up on the screen is sure to have the kids mesmerized in their seats. However, it’ll most likely leave parents glancing at their watches and waiting for the credits to role. And, once again, there is no reason to spend the extra few dollars for the non-existent 3D effect.
Filled with laughs for the kids and good action scenes but missing anything worthwhile for adults, Turbo is sure to be a fun trip to the theater for the younger set but will leave the adults waiting at the finish line for it to finally end.
Turbo opens in theaters on July 17, 2013 and is rated PG for some mild action and thematic elements.
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