This may be a bit of a surprise to you all, but it turns out a movie about a snail that gains the ability to move at super speed isn’t as exciting and fun as you might think.
After great recent animated movies Monsters University and Despicable Me 2 that seemed to be just as geared for adults as for children, Turbo is definitely one of those dull films where parents are gonna have to take one for the team and suffer through. Parents that have the option should have a rock, paper, scissors battle to determine who gets stuck with this one. On the flip side, the loser won’t have to endure Planes.
It’s possible Turbo wouldn’t be so watching paint dry dull if the entire film hadn’t been shown on the trailer. It’s unlikely, but that’s a theory.
As you’ve likely already seen, Turbo (Ryan Reynolds) is a snail who yearns to go fast, but in the ever cautious world of snails, his reckless attitude is frowned upon — particularly by his no-frills older brother, Chet (Paul Giamatti, Rock of Ages). But Turbo still holds on to his dreams of being a speed demon like his racing champ idol, Guy Gagne (Bill Hader, Forgetting Sarah Marshall). It’s hard to blame Turbo for wanting to get out of there as the pinnacle of snail excitement is waiting for ripe tomatoes to drop from the vines and steering clear of crows and a bug squashing toddler.
A freak exposure to nitrous oxide leaves Turbo with lighting fast speed and just as gets the hang of his new ability, he and Chet are caught by Tito (Michael Pena, End of Watch), a young entrepreneur looking for an attraction to bring people to the taco truck he owns with his older brother, Angelo (Luis Guzman, The Last Stand).
In the meantime, Tito hangs with the stereotypical strip mall store owners — hobby shop owner Bobby (Richard Jenkins, Killing Them Softly), mechanic Paz (Michelle Rodriguez, Fast & Furious 6) and nail salon owner Kim-Ly (Ken Jeong) — and entertain themselves by racing snails.
The trailers smartly play up the other snails — Whiplash (Samuel L. Jackson, Django Unchained), White Shadow (Mike Bell), Burn (Maya Rudolph, Grown Ups 2), Skid Mark (Ben Schwartz) and Smoove Move (Snoop Dogg) — but those two minutes roughly cover their involvement in the film.
That’s disappointing as the quintet is the most interesting aspect of Turbo and could have helped it have a more distinct feel, especially since Turbo is such a focused/boring main character. He wants to go fast. We get it. Screenwriters Darren Lemke (Jack the Giant Slayer), Robert D. Siegel and David Soren are perfectly fine going with a boring underdog overcoming the odds storyline as Tito successfully lobbies to enter Turbo in the Daytona 500 where he’ll have to defeat Gagne in order to become a racing legend.
Of the cast, Giamatti, Jackson and Pena really stand out while Reynolds sounds just like Ryan Reynolds voicing an animated snail and Jeong’s shtick is just as annoying here as it was in The Hangover Part III.
There’s no real adversity for Turbo so the race to the finish line is less than suspenseful and while a kid’s movie, there’s not a lot of big laughs here for them either, but if they are satisfied with some colorful characters and animation that pops it may be enough for them. And for parents, take solace in the fact that it’s just long enough to doze off and count snails.