Pixar's Cars begat Cars 2, which begat Planes, which begat Bobs Gannaway's Planes: Fire & Rescue, the closest thing we're getting to a Pixar movie this year. But other than being set in the same universe as the Cars pictures, it's really nowhere close to being a Pixar movie. Its provenance is DisneyToon studios, a division which does primarily straight-to-video product like Bambi II and Cinderella III: A Twist in Time. (Disneytoon outsources much of the labor to Prana Studios in India, resulting in the bizarre juxtaposition in the closing credits of a shitkicking Brad Paisley country song playing over the names of several hundred Mumbai citizens.) Plotwise, when hotshot flier Dusty (Dane Cook) loses his racing mojo (read: virility) due to a damaged engine, he trains to become an aerial firefighter under the gruff Blade (Ed Harris). The story is just a vehicle for gags, and while that's not necessarily a bad thing — last year's true Pixar release Monsters University had a joke-per-minute rate that was just astonishing — Planes: Fire & Rescue wastes no time getting to the first fart joke, and never rises above that level. It's lowest common denominator entertainment, a TV movie playing on larger screens, and at least it has the good taste to be only 83 minutes long.
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