If you're happy being a passenger or even a backseat driver, Scott Waugh's video game based "Need For Speed" is a pretty fun ride.
You can tell award season is behind us when cars are the month's candidate for "Best Supporting Role," but that's not always a bad thing. Aaron Paul ("Breaking Bad") is Tobey Marshall, owner of the best garage in town. With a loyal crew and cars faster than a 14-year-old's Twitter feed, life couldn't be better. Unfortunately, the family business is about to become bank property if Tobey doesn't raise enough cash to save the farm...uh garage.
When Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper) shows up with a proposal to help Tobey, it's almost a godsend, but only if your God sends your arch-enemy who you despise for having a professional racing career (that maybe you should've had) and stealing your girlfriend years ago. Dino says he's there to make peace as the camera zooms in on him as though he's waiting to twirl his mustache and laugh maniacally. He wants Tobey and his motley crew to restore a Ford Mustang unfinished by Ford and Carroll Shelby himself.
Greed, tragedy, and one of the sickest races caught on screen this year finds the Tobester fresh out of prison and out for revenge. Aiding him is his boys and the cute, spunky and adorably British Julia (Imogen Poots). Part of that whole vengeance thing involves Tobey competing in a race called the De Leon put on by semi-reclusive millionaire "The Monarch" (Michael Keaton), a character that gets old, not because of the performance, but because of the lame lines he's given from the midpoint on.
"Need For Speed" is a lot of fun for people who go to the movies to have fun. Cars are loud and go fast. There's a nice romance between Paul and Poots that takes place that, while not life-changing, is cute and doesn't feel forced. There are nods to racing films from "Fast and Furious" to Steve McQueen's iconic "Bullitt" which even shows up in the first 5 minutes. Not bad for a movie that could've just pretended that it operated in a vacuum. The movie covers most bases and manages to keep you on the edge of your seat with cars racing, flying, landing and exploding.