See it at the Movies


* * ½

(Fast cars/slow plot)

I hope they paid the stuntmen better than the writers.

“Need For Speed” features some of the best stunts and fanciest cars seen yet in this type of movie. The problem is that the plot is as dumb as some of the characters.

Aaron Paul plays Tobey, a young Mt. Kisco, N.Y. racecar driver and inheritor of his father’s auto shop. He is losing his shop to the bank and his girlfriend to his biggest rival. He participates in illegal races around the winding country roads, where the local cops never catch the wild drivers.

His rival (Dominic Cooper) hires him to build the ultimate racecar. When Tobey gets framed on a manslaughter charge, he spends a couple of years in jail, planning revenge on his guilty nemesis.

A rich car collector loans him a car and a beautiful British co-pilot (Imogen Poots: now, there’s a name for you), and off they go from upstate New York to California to compete in the BIG RACE. Along the way they are chased by bad guys who are trying to keep Tobey out of the race and, of course, by dumb local police.

Tobey gets a lot of help from his friends, including two guys who somehow keep up with him in a pickup truck and another guy who paves the way for him in gliders and helicopters, communicating detours and cop car locations.

The action is nonstop and the thrills are a mile a minute, literally, but the story is outrageously ridiculous. Car lovers will love this one, which features cars I’ve never heard of. The scenery, as they drive cross-country through Detroit, Nebraska, canyon country and the Bonneville Salt Flats, is breathtaking. The ending is as outrageous as the plot.

Michael Keaton shows up as the perpetrator of the race.

Rated PG-13, with profanity, violence, illegal driving, no respect for the law, and one funny rear male nudity scene. Staqy off the road when the young men leave the theatre and get in their cars after seeing this one.


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