For: illegal behavior, moral confusion, sensual and vulgar innuendoes, minced oaths, name calling and some language, and some feminism
Cars is a mixed bag – the heartwarming mixed with the painfully cliché; great landscapes mixed with plastic protagonists, simplicity of storyline, utter predictability of storyline; colorful characters that are nothing more than caricatures and stereotypes; messages about the importance of having friends mixed with the message that it’s okay for those friends to be foolish, immoral and even criminal; merchandising for children, sexual innuendoes for adults. Fans of Pixar, NASCAR, kids’ movies, clever dialogue or biblical norms: try, try again.
Main character Lightning violates sundry traffic laws, most of the time with no consequences. He tries to beat a train to the crossing, which is illegal. He attempts to evade a police officer, and after his arrest, trial and sentencing, escapes custody. Both of these are misdemeanors. None of these offenses are fully resolved.
Former fans react to a disappointing hero by throwing objects at him, and this is positively-portrayed, despite being an instance of simple battery, which is a misdemeanor.
Lightning’s positively-portrayed best friend tries to cover up an action by claiming that he was involved in what he considered a lesser crime: “smashin’ mailboxes,” which is vandalism (also a misdemeanor).
In Cars justice is portrayed as being the will of the disadvantaged majority, without regard for the actual law. The prosecuting attorney in a case against Lightning changes the judge’s ruling by garnering support from the other cars, condemning Lightning not because the punishment necessarily fits the crime, but because the other cars are hypothetically about to lose their jobs if he doesn’t get sentenced to community service - because “the town needs this.”
The town judge rules on instinct and prejudice, without referring to any legal system whatsoever, and is positively-portrayed.
It is portrayed as an injustice that an interstate was built without taking every small town’s economy into account.
A car claims, with double meaning, “I don’t need to know where I’m going. Just need to know where I’ve been.”
Jimi Hendrix is mentioned by name by a positively-portrayed car who is implied to have done drugs previously.
Sensual and Vulgar Innuendoes
Inappropriate plays on words include jokes like “She just likes me for my body,” multiple innuendoes about n-ts and bolts in an anatomical context, and spoken or unspoken references to rear ends. A featured bumper sticker reads “Nice Butte”.
Characters are described as “hot” and “sexy”. Lightning tells an attractive female, “just stand there and let me look at you.”
It is rumored that the main character intended to pose for “Cargirl”.
A car up on jacks (revealing his underside) asks another car sarcastically if he got a good peek, and says, “Hope you enjoyed the show!”
An awkward conversation involves a female car inviting Lightning to stay “with” her, then backtracking to explain that he would be staying in another building. Lightning’s positively-portrayed best friend, however, isn’t in on the backtracking, and views the idea of the couple “gettin’ cozy” as a good thing.
A truck asks if he forgot to wipe his mudflaps.
Minced Oaths, Name Calling and Some Language
What in the blue blazes?
Inappropriate jokes are made implying the words p-ss and Chr-st.
The main character’s love interest, and a major character throughout the film, is the town attorney, a positively-portrayed stereotype of feminism. She is portrayed as the only smart, well-educated, attractive, successful, leadership-caliber individual in the town.