"Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky
Directed by Adam McKay.
Written by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay.
Starring Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Sasha Baron Cohen and Gary
Release Year: 2006
Review Date: 8/7/06
The title for Will Ferrell's new comedy,
"Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby", is badass. So
is the casting--great actors like Gary Cole, Sasha Baron Cohen (aka
Ali G), former Oscar nominees John C. Reilly, Michael Clarke Duncan
and Amy Adams (from last year's
"Junebug") all are
great in support of the main story that follows Ferrell as he
plays Ricky Bobby, a former pit crew member who tries to become NASCAR's #1 driver while trying to maintain fame and fortune
in his home state of North Carolina.
While I found myself laughing hard on
occasion, there are no gutbusters, certainly none like there were in
the last Ferrell/Adam McKay collaboration,
And then I got caught up in what WASN'T good about "Talladega
Nights"--the NASCAR sequences are surprisingly bad, the character of
Ricky's wife, played by Leslie Bibb, didn't do anything for me, the
soundtrack was not up my alley (naturally), the scenes featuring the
race team management (including Molly Shannon as the owner's boozy
wife) all suck, and while Cohen can be funny on occasion, his take
on the French rival Jean Girard was only mildly amusing. Even
the outtakes really suck in this movie; stranger still was the lack
of NASCAR cameos in this movie--besides Little E, why don't we get
more of the real drivers? We got a shitload of product
placement, but in the most marketing-savvy sport in the world (bar
none), why don't we get more of the drivers???
What are you left with? A movie that
will entertain you while you sit there, even provide for some
above-average laughs, and will re-establish your faith in Ferrell as
a run producer. (Sorry, it's baseball season.) But, you
won't need to see it twice; there are a couple of good quotables,
but not nearly the volume you got from "Anchorman"; is there a week
that goes by when I don't say "Stay classy, San Diego" or "Scotch,
scotch, scotch, down down down, down in my belly"??? The
run-on jokes here don't work as well--Ricky Bobby running around
thinking he's on fire dies compared to the anchorman alley brawl
from that neo-cult classic of just two years ago. Ferrell is
funny is this film, but he's upstaged constantly by either the two
Bobby kids (their profanity-laden comebacks might be the MVP of the
film) or Reilly, who soaked this part up and hams it up at every
turn. Even Gary Cole, who always seems to knock it out of the
park in comedies, is great in very limited scene supply.
I saw this with Ross and his friend Dan;
although I think those two liked it a lot more than I did, all of us
agreed that "Talladega Nights" probably wouldn't be as good the
second time through; with "Anchorman", age is only going to treat it
better (honestly, don't you laugh harder every time you think about
the jazz flute sequence?). As pure comedy goes,
Miss Sunshine" blows "Talladega Nights" off the page, but in
terms of lowbrow silly slapstick, "Talladega Nights" fills a void
that some people will be missing for a while if they don't run out
and catch this film.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard