In animation shorthand, "Turbo" is " 'Cars' with snails." It's light on the jokes, but cute, with animation so vivid it looks photo-real.
It's another "impossible dream" tale, this time of a motorhead mollusk who has a need for "terrifying, blinding speed."
Theo (Ryan Gosling) is an auto-racing obsessed garden snail who longs to escape his colony of tomato-munchers. The occasional terror by a Big Wheel-riding tyke nicknamed "Shell Crusher" and the odd assault by crows is the only excitement in this over-organized, limited world.
He watches races on TV and works hard to improve his time over the measured yard -- 17 minutes is a personal best.
Speed? "It's IN me," declares Theo, who prefers the nickname "Turbo."
"It's NOT," says his brother Chet (Paul Giamatti), who knows what he's talking about. "Not every dream is meant to come true."
Turbo is constantly taking risks that are sure to shorten his life, and sometimes even he can see that. Dejected, he slimes his way to the dry bed of the Los Angeles River, where he's caught up in some drag racing and is sucked into the turbocharger of a Nitrous Oxide-boosted Camaro.
Darned if he isn't transformed into the World's Fastest Snail, sliming a literal blue streak down L.A. streets and up L.A. walls.
Darned if a Latino taco maker (Michael Pena) doesn't enter Turbo in his rundown strip mall's nightly snail races. Darned if Turbo doesn't chew up the souped-up local snails, led by Whiplash (Samuel L. Jackson) but including Smoove Move (Snoop Dogg).
Darned if that doesn't have the taco maker and his fellow failing business owners (Ken Jeong of "The Hangover" voices a nail parlor operator, Richard Jenkins a hobbyshop owner and Michelle Rodriguez an auto body shop operator) thinking "Indianapolis 500."