The film was released to theatres and home video in 2005. It received mixed to negative reviews from critics.
As a child, Phil Davis (Greg Germann) was able to outrun, outjump and outhit anyone in his class, until a kid from California, Ace Montana (Marc Raymond), moved into town. Ever since then, Ace has been number one and Phil number two. Even in the cul-de-sac where the four childhood friends and rivals (Montana, Davis, Blaine Moosman (Ross Brockley) and "Big Jimmy" Scaldoni (Perry Anzilotti)) live, the Montana's mailbox is #1, and the Davis' mailbox is #2. After a basketball game where Phil's son's team loses to Ace's son's team, Phil realizes that the Davis family's second-place status has passed on to the next generation.
Phil's wife Kim (Lauren Holly), the den mother of the local Cub Scout pack, gives a pinewood derby kit to each of the Cub Scouts. Although the boys are supposed to make their own cars from the kits, with appropriate adult supervision, the four dads obsessively take over the project, totally excluding the boys.
As each man becomes more and more obsessed with building the fastest car, their wives eventually become so annoyed that they leave the house, taking their sons with them. Soon, "Big Jimmy" is the first to break secrecy to talk to Blaine, and the two of them then talk to Phil, showing him on the title page of the Pinewood Derby Bible that Ace Montana is the author. Not only that, but the car Ace built as an eight-year-old boy in California still holds the record for the fastest pinewood derby car on record.
The three men decide to collaborate to build one car that will beat Montana's. To this end, they steal Ace's record holding car to reverse-engineer it, finding out that Ace's real name is Stacy Lynn, but are nearly caught in the act of returning it. The three men then succeed in building a fast car that will break the record, and Blaine and Jimmy decide that Phil should have the honor of having his son enter the car in the competition.
At the Derby, the men and their wives are re-united. Kim tells Phil that their son Brady (Adam Hicks) has built his own car while staying with his grandfather, with advice from grandpa's neighbor, and she challenges him to "do the right thing". After some soul-searching, Phil passes up the car the three men built, and allows Brady to register his car for the race – but "Big Jimmy" still wants to beat Ace, and takes the car for his son to enter.
After several races, the competition comes down to five finalists, including Ace's, Brady's, and the car the three men built. In the final race their car is leading the pack but loses a wheel. Ace's car then takes the lead, but on the flat part of the track, Brady's car takes the lead and finishes first, setting a new pinewood derby record. Ace is shocked, but makes a gesture of congratulating the Davises; still, the minute he leaves the room, he throws a temper tantrum.
When Phil asks Brady who grandpa's neighbor who gave me advice was, Brady points out a man in the audience, who turns out to be the man in the instructional video Phil has been watching to help design his car.Greg Germann as Phil Davis, the guy who used to be number one, but was bumped to second place when Ace Montana moved to town.
Lauren Holly as Kim Davis, wife of Phil, who gets fed up with Phil's obsession with the Pinewood derby.
Pat Morita as Uno Yakimoto, owner of Yakimoto company. Phil, focused on the derby, neglects to develop the Yakimoto ad campaign.
Adam Hicks as Brady Davis, son of Phil and Kim; he wants to help with the derby car, but isn't allowed.
Marc Raymond as Ace Montana, Phil's rival, who seems to better than Phil at everything.
Hunter Tylo as Teri Montana; wife of Ace Montana.
Danny Shepherd as Danny Scaldoni, Big Jimmy's son, a friend of Brady Montana.
Perry Anzilotti as Big Jimmy, a short but tough friend/rival of Phil's.
Robert Costanzo as Claude, a friend of Phil Davis who is working hard at the derby racing.
Sandy Hackett as Larry Savage, Phil's boss; he threatens to fire Phil from his job.
Scott Christopher as Delivery Guy, a neighbour of Phil Davis.
Carmen Ramusen as Marilyn, the dentist's wife who, like Kim, is fed up with her husband's derby plan.
Deborah Ashton as Angel Scaldoni
Ross Brockley as Blaine Moosman
Tammy Lier as Charlotte Moosman
Nicholas Nengas as Todd Moosman
Eric Jacobs as A.J. Montana
Lauren Holly If.jpg
The film made $52,000 in its opening weekend in the United States and made $450,000 in its entire domestic run. It made $322,000 in its worldwide opening weekend and $4,476,789 in its entire limited-release run.
The film received mixed to negative reviews from critics, and holds a 24% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics called it a predictable, plotless family comedy, that children will enjoy, but adults won't care for.
But the critics who liked it stated it was a "fun, enjoyable clean family comedy". One critic called it "the best kids film of the year".The creator of the pinewood derby, Don Murphy, makes a cameo appearance in the film.
The license plates indicate that the film is set somewhere in Arizona, but the filming actually took place in St. George and Santa Clara, Utah.
In the opening scene of the movie, it is mentioned that "Big Jimmy" "hasn't grown an inch since fifth grade." He has compensated by having the biggest mailbox, biggest lawnmower, tallest wife Deborah Ashton, biggest dog and biggest truck.