Humorless ‘Planes’ never gets airborne
There are funnier cartoons than the “Cars” universe of movies, and smarter ones, and animated films with more heart.
But there’s nothing like the “World of ‘Cars’ ” for toy tie-ins, or so the reasoning must have been for “Planes,” the worst of the animated blockbusters to come our way this summer. A bland, joyless plucky-little-plane race comedy, it’s even more starved of jokes than Pixar’s “Monsters University,” as if that was possible.
“Planes” is about a crop duster named Dusty who longs to be more “than just what I was built for. I’ve flown thousands of miles and I’ve never been anywhere.”
His elder (Cedric the Entertainer) might remind him that “You were built for seed, not speed.” But Dusty longs to escape Propwash Junction, and with the help of his fuel truck pal (Brad Garrett) and trusty mechanic forklift (Teri Hatcher), he might just get into the round-the-world race and win fame and glory.
So it’s “Cars II” with planes. Or “Turbo” without the snail.
“Planes” looks, sounds and feels like a direct-to-video project, which in an earlier age when people still bought DVDs it would have been. In theaters, it’s nothing more than a laughless 90 minute commercial for toys available at a retailer near you.