DreamWorks Animation
Chris Nashawaty
July 19, 2013 AT 04:00 AM EDT


Current Status
In Season
96 minutes
Wide Release Date
Paul Giamatti, Ken Jeong, Ryan Reynolds, Maya Rudolph, Ben Schwartz
David Soren
20th Century Fox Film Corporation

We gave it an B

Revving into theaters a mere four months after DreamWorks Animation’s last film (the prehistoric box-office smash The Croods), Turbo is a mildly enjoyable warm-weather diversion that’s neither as funny as it should be nor as emotionally rousing as it could be.

Voiced with a peppy blandness by Ryan Reynolds, Turbo is an oozy, slow-poke garden snail with sleepy, hooded eyes who dreams of being a speed demon. He spends his days noshing on backyard tomatoes and his nights watching NASCAR on TV. The ironically-named Turbo fantasizes about becoming a racing legend like his human hero, Guy Gagné (Bill Hader), who, through a Bouillabaisse-thick French accent tells his fans, ”No dream is big and no dreamer too small.” Against the dream-dashing advice of his jowly snail brother (Paul Giamatti), Turbo takes Gagné’s words to heart?especially after a freak accident transforms him into a fuel-injected mollusk with blazing speed. Turbo no longer slithers along at a millimeter-a-minute clip, he burns rubber, leaving a vapor trail of whizzing neon light in his wake.

Soon, a chubby taco-truck driver named Tito (Michael Peña) discovers Turbo’s supernatural gift and adds him to his freak-show menagerie of delusional, gung-ho snails (a barking Samuel L. Jackson, a laid-back Snoop Dogg, and a sassy Maya Rudolph). He then enters Turbo into the Indy 500, where the wonder slug faces steep odds and squares off with Gagné. The climactic race scenes have a zippy, whiplash velocity thanks to the film’s vertiginous 3-D. And while there’s no denying that the film is a harmless, wholesome, and heart-warming ride crafted with polish and skill, it’s also so predictable that you’ll see every twist in the story driving down Fifth Avenue. B

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