Kids will love ‘Turbo’; parents, not so much

  • By Roger Moore McClatchy-Tribune News Service
  • Wednesday, July 17, 2013 1:30pm
  • LifeGo-See-DoMovies

In animation shorthand, “Turbo” is “‘Cars’ with snails.” It’s light on the jokes, but cute, with animation so vivid it looks photo-real.

It’s another “impossible dream” tale, this time of a motorhead mollusk who has a need for “terrifying, blinding speed.” Theo (Ryan Reynolds) is an auto-racing obsessed garden snail who longs to escape his colony of tomato-munchers. The occasional terror by a Big Wheel-riding tyke nicknamed “Shell Crusher” and the odd assault by crows is the only excitement in this over-organized, limited world.

He watches races on TV and works hard to improve his time over the measured yard — 17 minutes is a personal best.

Speed? “It’s IN me,” declares Theo, who prefers the nickname “Turbo.”

“It’s NOT,” says his brother Chet (Paul Giamatti), who knows what he’s talking about. “Not every dream is meant to come true.”

Turbo is constantly taking risks that are sure to shorten his life, and sometimes even he can see that. Dejected, he slimes his way to the dry bed of the Los Angeles River, where he’s caught up in some drag racing and is sucked into the turbocharger of a nitrous oxide-boosted Camaro.

Darned if he isn’t transformed into the World’s Fastest Snail, sliming a literal blue streak down L.A. streets and up L.A. walls.

Darned if a Latino taco maker (Michael Pena) doesn’t enter Turbo in his rundown strip mall’s nightly snail races. Darned if Turbo doesn’t chew up the souped-up local snails, led by Whiplash (Samuel L. Jackson) but including Smoove Move (Snoop Dogg).

And darned if that doesn’t have the taco maker and his fellow failing small business owners (Ken Jeong of “The Hangover” voices a nail parlor operator, Richard Jenkins a hobbyshop owner and Michelle Rodriguez an auto body shop operator) thinking “Indianapolis 500.”

The first big laughs arrive when Jackson’s character purrs that Turbo has “clearly got the skills to pay the bills … If snails had bills.” Bill Hader vamps up the French Indy car champ who inspires Turbo but who could not bear to lose to a snail in The Brickyard.

The situations are more amusing than the dialogue and shrieking Jeong one-liners. And as vivid as the race scenes are — zooming over, through and under Indy cars — if we want to watch photo-real auto-racing we can turn on the TV.

So while small children may be enchanted by this little gastropod that could, adults will be more sorely tested. For all the horsepower the “Turbo” boasts about, the movie tends toward the sluggish — as in “slow as a slug.”

“Turbo” (2½ stars)

An “impossible dream” tale about a garden snail obsessed with car racing. This vividly animated movie is best for small fry; it will try the patience of adults. With the voices of Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Paul Giamatti, Luis Guzman, Michael Pena, Michelle Rodriguez,Ken Jeong and Bill Hader.

Rated: PG for content.

Showing: Alderwood Mall, Everett Stadium, Galaxy Monroe, Marsyville, Olympic, Stanwood, Meridian, Oak Tree, Woodinville, Blue Fox, Cascade, Oak Harbor.

More in Life

Using a rod to assist in running wiring through an attic space, Don Thomas, of R&D Handyman Service, works on installing a ceiling fan at a home in SE Everett on Monday, July 24, 2017 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
                                Don Thomas of R&D Handyman Service installs a ceiling fan at a home in southeast Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
When fall chores loom, just hand them to the handyman

Here are three local businesses that can help you prepare your home for the rainy season.

And this year’s winners of Everett’s Monte Cristo Awards are…

The awards recognize local homeowners and businesses that take special care of their properties.

‘Happy Death Day’ applies ‘Groundhog Day’ premise on horror genre

Smart writing and Jessica Rothe’s performance make this worth seeing.

Adventurer 1st to finish Race to Alaska on stand-up paddleboard

Karl Kruger will speak about his trip at the Everett Mountaineers Banquet on Nov. 4 in Lynnwood.

Therapy helped ease debilitating pain after injury

Columnist Jennifer Bardsley shares her experiences with complex regional pain syndrome.

How to prune a hydrangea: An exception to the pruning rule

It helps to think of a growing blackberry vine when you’re about to cut back this blooming shrub.

Visiting Germany’s Lutherland, birthplace of Reformation

The sights include the church where the first Protestant service took place in 1521.

Can you top ‘Hamilton’? Author Ron Chernow is about to find out

The notable writer’s latest book, published Oct. 10, is a lengthy biography on Ulysses S. Grant.

Most Read