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Film review: ‘Need for Speed’ spends a lot of time idling

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Jesse Pinkman … er, Aaron Paul cashes a paycheck … er, stars in the pointless Need for Speed.

One and a half stars

Need for Speed Aaron Paul, Imogen Poots, Dominic Cooper. Directed by Scott Waugh. Rated PG-13. Opens Friday.

Maybe following up his stint on one of the most acclaimed TV dramas of all time with a starring role in a car-racing movie based on a video game wasn’t the best move for Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul. He can’t do much with the role of Need for Speed’s Tobey Marshall, a car-racing prodigy who sets out to get revenge (via car-racing) on the man who killed his best friend (in a car race). For a movie whose sole purpose is to watch cars driving really fast, Need for Speed takes an absurdly long time setting up its main plot, which then unfolds choppily over more than two hours. Some of the racing stunts are impressive, but the overall tone is grim and mean-spirited, with the repetitive story broken up only by crass, sexist humor and a mugging Michael Keaton as a secret race guru. It might be time for Paul to look seriously at that Breaking Bad spinoff.

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