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Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)

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9/10: Funny - but more as performance art than as a film
Saturday, August 5, 2006

I don't know that I'd enjoy this movie in New York or San Francisco, but in rural West Virginia it was absolutely hilarious. A disclaimer: I'm a Southern white male. I was born in the South and live in the South. I wear cowboy boots, drive a pickup and prefer Bourbon to Scotch. I even like NASCAR and auto racing in general. The movie wasn't hilarious because of the gags in the film, some of which are pretty funny, but because of the relentless parody of what passes for Southern American culture these days, and the reaction from the audience. It was clear that the majority of folks in the theater were expecting something more friendly to the NASCAR "lifestyle" and perhaps even affirmation of it. I think the advertising gave that impression - a friendly caricature of NASCAR. Instead, it delivered a ruthless lampooning of the idiocy of fat-assed, fat SUV'd, inarticulate redneck-ism...

8/10: The "Anchorman" of the Nascar movies
Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Here is the review my wife and I wrote for cincity2000.com Talladega Superspeedway. For those unfamiliar, it is NASCAR's biggest and fastest race track, and the setting for the latest Will Ferrell comedy Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. I'm no fan of professional racing, but I do know funny. Put Will Ferrell in the driver's seat of a stock car, cast John C. Reilly (so wonderful in Chicago) as his best friend, and pit Sacha Baron Cohen (best known as Ali G.) as his rival and you can be almost guaranteed a good movie.Here's the deal Ricky Bobby (Will Ferrell) is born in the backseat of a souped-up Chevelle. His motivation in life is given to him when he is ten years old by his alcoholic father: "If you ain't first, you're last." This mantra carries him to the pit crew of a losing race team. When he's...

1/10: Could have (should have) been much, much better
Monday, August 7, 2006

I really wanted to like this movie.It's obvious that Will Ferrell is a talented comedian; his work on Saturday Night Live, his supporting roles in Old School and Wedding Crashers and portions of Anchorman are all very funny. However, Ferrell often seems to be playing the same character over and over, and with Talladega Nights, Ferrell has taken this a step further, essentially grafting the plot of Anchorman onto NASCAR Racing.In theory, this should be hilarious, but in reality Talladega Nights just doesn't hold up. The problems with the film are myriad: inconsistent tone (too absurd one moment, too serious the next), unlikable characters, and a general sense that you've seen this all before. As in Anchorman, here Ferrell plays a boorish, unlikable protagonist who has ascended to the top of his game and conducts himself with varying degrees of arrogance, narcissism and idiocy; as far as I could tell, the only reason one would...

10/10: Talladega Nights
Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Jack FischerTalladega Nights Movie Review "If you ain't first you're last." (Ricky Bobby) Ricky Bobby, Will Ferrell,comedy genius to perfection" (Jamie Russell Rotten Tomatoes), becomes the best NASCAR driver, then loses everything when Jean Girard, Sacha Baron Cohen aka Ali G, steals the win from him, leading Ricky to not win for awhile. Then Ricky, makes a comeback when Ricky and Girard crash, leading to a running race to the finish line. In Talladega Nights, Adam McKay creates a comedy using a North Carolinian stereotype through Ricky Bobby. Two parts of the movie were similar to real life situations. First, the costumes were close copies to actual driver suits. The movie used real NASCAR suits that made it more realistic. Additionally, the cars were authentically represented as they had sponsors and logos on the side of the cars. According to Tom Neven, a movie critic, "there has never been any good NASCAR movies, but Will Ferrell ended...

8/10: Celebrate Those Nights
Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006): Dir: Adam McKay / Cast: Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Gary Cole, Sacha Baron Cohen, Leslie Bibb: Another superb comedy from director Adam McKay although not the masterpiece that Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy is. Title regards Ricky Bobby's carefree existence through life. He was born in a car in fast motion and grew to dominate the race tracks until an accident costs him his reputation, his wife, his best friend, and his team. Director Adam McKay is smart enough to detail the screenplay and deliver an intriguing conclusion. Will Ferrell plays Ricky whose reckless racing parallels his life. He goes through a hilarious transition believing to be paralyzed then his father re-enters his life to assist him in the predicted outcome. John C. Reilly steals scenes as his naïve best friend who goes from second place to the new husband of Bobby's wife. The result of this is...

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