Thanks to Paul Teolis, I want to point out this article, entitled "Computer-made cartoons might be nearing a creative crash." I think that a lot of the article is wrong-headed, and as somebody who spent 20 years working in computer animation, I think singling out the medium is as wrong as singling out drawn animation was a few years ago.
But the importance of this article is twofold. First, the critics are beginning to see the sameness of the films. Second, journalists are famous for reading other journalists and parrotting their ideas. When the public reads the same message about animation in every article they see, that's how conventional wisdom gets born.
And while I don't want to review either Over the Hedge or Cars, I want to point out the similarities in their stories. A character with a selfish goal meets other characters who are more community oriented. When the character has the opportunity to realize his goal, he abandons it because he's adopted the values of his new-found friends. The two films are different in that R.J. in Over the Hedge attempts to exploit the other characters where Lightning McQueen in Cars wants to escape them, but the films start and end in the same place. They're just developed differently in their second acts.
As I said earlier, we've got to enlarge the gene pool or our creative babies will be born with two heads and the public won't want to be seen with them.