As ambitious as these characters are, the same can't be said for Turbo's paint-by-numbers script. Following the oh-so-predictable, if-you-just-believe-and-try-hard-enough-your-dreams-will-come-true trajectory of so many other films, Turbo could've used a little more torque.

That said, the packed house of kiddos at my particular screening seemed to be having the time of their lives. No doubt drawn in by the low-key laughs, bright color palette and the sheer likeability of the snail protagonist, they found Turbo apparently enjoyable enough.

But for anyone who appreciates entertainment that ventures outside the shell, well, you’ll probably have to wait for the next Pixar film because imagination is in pretty short supply in this Dreamworks offering.

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol: A couple of characters pop open a beer and drink socially. A performance-enhancing drug (a.k.a nitrous oxide) unexpectedly propels Turbo to NASCAR speeds.
  • Language/Profanity: “Son of a gun” and “for crying out loud” stand in for their harsher counterparts.
  • Sex/Nudity: No sex or nudity. A couple of jokes flirt with humor that’ll go over the heads of most younger kids. Chet is mistaken for a girl on several occasions, and it becomes one of the movie’s long-running jokes.
  • Violence: Considering how small they are, it’s no surprise that snails would fear getting run over by a lawnmower or squashed by a mean-spirited kid on a big wheel (we see both threats on several occasions). Vultures snatch a snail or two practically every day. There are a few perilous situations on the race track, too, when Turbo enters the fold. One particularly competitive racer tries to take Turbo down by any means necessary. That racer also has a few accidents of his own along the way. We also see a few racers get into accidents or crash into the wall.

Publication date: July 17, 2013