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Overall Rating
3.61

Awesome: 24.79%
Worth A Look38.02%
Average: 22.31%
Pretty Bad: 3.31%
Total Crap: 11.57%

9 reviews, 67 user ratings


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Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
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by EricDSnider

"NASCAR fans are dumb, and Will Ferrell is funny."
4 stars

"Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" is from the guys who brought you "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy," and the films have more in common than their similarly composed titles. Both have an arrogant and popular central character who is brought low by fate and forced to change his selfish ways. Both delight in non-sequitur humor and random celebrity cameos. And of course both have Will Ferrell.

Ferrell is on the roster of actors whom you either find funny or you don't. It has little to do with the material. It's the delivery, the mannerisms, the overall BEING of the person. In "Talladega Nights," in which he plays cocky redneck NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby, Ferrell's demeanor is similar to his old George W. Bush impression: Southern, vaguely dumb and swaggeringly self-assured. He looks like a NASCAR man while simultaneously making fun of NASCAR men.

(And yes, NASCAR fans, the point here is to mock you and your sport. Luckily, many of you are dumb enough not to know you're being made fun of. And if you take offense at that statement, just assume you're not one of the people included in the word "many.")

Ricky Bobby goes from zero to hero early in the film, becoming the superstar racer on a team run by the Dennit family. He's a "winning is everything" kind of guy, with a hot wife (Leslie Bibb), two mouthy sons, and more endorsement deals than he knows what to do with. Even the grace he says over the family's dinner is sponsored by Powerade.

Ricky's lifelong best friend Cal Naughton (John C. Reilly) is on the Dennit team, too, always behind Ricky, keeping other racers at bay and the No. 2 spot for himself. He'd like to actually win sometime, but as Ricky points out, if Cal wins, how would Ricky win? You see his dilemma.

Conflict arises in two ways. First, Dennit brings in Jean Girard (Sacha Baron Cohen), a new teammate and rival for Ricky who is both French and gay, two things a good ol' boy like Ricky doesn't like. (Since French-hating is far more acceptable to movie audiences than gay-bashing, Ricky's reaction to Jean's homosexuality is befuddlement, not viciousness.) Jean, with his Perrier-sponsored car, intends to unseat Ricky as the reigning NASCAR king.

The other problem is that Ricky wrecks his car during a race and injures himself -- not physically so much, but psychologically. His only goal in life has been to go fast, and now going fast terrifies him. Without racing, his life falls apart. His wife leaves him. There is a rift in his friendship with Cal. His sponsors abandon him. What's a redneck to do?

With free-wheeling direction by Adam McKay and a script by McKay and Ferrell (though improvisation was obviously encouraged, too), the movie is loose and odd and often screamingly funny. Ferrell and McKay are not afraid to spend five minutes on a scene where everyone at the dinner table debates which version of Jesus to pray to. (Ricky prefers the baby Jesus of Christmastime, while his wife likes the grown-up version.) Or to have Ricky's deadbeat dad (Gary Cole) try to convince Ricky to ride in a car with a cougar. Or to give Ricky psychosomatic paralysis and spend several minutes on his insistence that he can't walk. The minds of McKay and Ferrell are strange places indeed. Often the fact that it's several minutes later and the joke is still being stretched out is as funny as the joke itself.

I didn't find the film quite as funny as "Anchorman," which I consider one of the best comedies of the past decade. "Anchorman" had a fantastic supporting cast of Steve Carell, David Koechner, Paul Rudd and Christina Applegate, each of them earning laughs separate from Ferrell, who even played the straightman sometimes. "Talladega Nights" has a great cast -- Jane Lynch, Michael Clarke Duncan, Molly Shannon and Amy Adams are among those not already mentioned -- but no one is nearly as memorable as Ferrell's "Anchorman" cohorts were, and nearly all the laughs turn out to be his alone. I doubt it's ego on Ferrell's part; I think the other characters were simply underwritten.

There are so many gleeful, wantonly absurd moments, though, more than enough to make it one of the best comedies of the summer. There are people who don't find Will Ferrell funny, I realize, and I'm happy I'm not one of them.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=14906&reviewer=247
originally posted: 08/04/06 14:26:03
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User Comments

3/18/16 Charles Tatum Plotless but quotable 4 stars
10/22/12 Sean Harrison Proof Will Ferrel can actually be funny if he chooses. 4 stars
3/09/08 jbubbles The only reason to see this movie is for Sasha Baron Cohen and he's not even in it alot. i 1 stars
1/23/08 Chase Overall it was a good movie, but it had its bad parts. Shake and Bake!! 4 stars
8/07/07 mr.mike so bad it made me long for "Stroker Ace" 2 stars
4/28/07 Dark Enchantress it was okay, not the best but okay 3 stars
4/16/07 Ricky awesome !! 5 stars
4/11/07 Dan Very funny, though the gay French driver subplot falls a little flat. Anchorman is better. 4 stars
3/27/07 Angela Movie is hilarious. Those who dispute should remove stick from anus 5 stars
2/13/07 Indrid Cold Not bad. Somewhat quirkier and funnier than a typical mainstream comedy. 4 stars
1/27/07 Tamara Leonard I found it disgusting, degrading and insulting as a Southern lady. 1 stars
1/22/07 del shake and bake=some parts good, some bad 3 stars
1/08/07 Jack & Dianne Moronic unfunny boring slapstick; unappealing characters; hit "stop" after 30 min. 1 stars
12/29/06 Phil M. Aficionado I guess I just don't have much of an appetite for Ferrell anymore. Snoozer 2 stars
12/23/06 chris that movie wasted the last two hours of my life. id rather beat off with a sos pad 1 stars
12/22/06 Kara I love this movie, it is halarious and Will Ferrell is amazing! 5 stars
12/13/06 sean u people who didnt like it or laugh are completely retarded, justt like voting for bush 5 stars
12/13/06 Gerrit ONE OF THE BEST WILL FERREL MOVIES 5 stars
11/18/06 Elza Hudson Terribly boring 1 stars
11/13/06 Caiphn Definately has some really funny moments, it's no Anchorman though. 3 stars
11/07/06 Jenna Furr MUCH MUCH better than ANCHORMAN, but still barely average. 3 stars
10/31/06 Jacko wacko Made me think of Dodgeball and was to slow and unintersting 2 stars
10/30/06 john frei 5 stars best movie ever throughout whole movie your crying cuz your laughing so hard 5 stars
10/29/06 Tony Man If you didn't like it, you're too serious about NASCAR, or you should be in Church. LOL 5 stars
10/25/06 Drew G Pretty funny, though not as good as Anchorman 4 stars
9/28/06 heelyes06 this movie was simply amazing and for all of you that don't like it.... then fuck you 5 stars
9/22/06 Anthony Feor Terrible, pure garbage 1 stars
9/17/06 Miterban Isdurty Iit seemed like a one long commercial (product placements) 3 stars
9/13/06 Ryan Michael loved anchorman\ this was a bad idea for an adult comedy 1 stars
9/04/06 bobby b pure junk-stupid 1 stars
9/03/06 Dragon The Artist Ferrell's director needs to get a new click;same basic premisis as stupid Anchorman. 1 stars
8/28/06 Dan Not as good as Anchorman. Needed a better supporting cast (Cole and the kids were great) 3 stars
8/24/06 Chad Thomas Some really hilarious bits but uneven. 3 stars
8/20/06 Mase Minless fun, though the white trash caricutures become grating after awhile 4 stars
8/19/06 Stephanie Terrell Not for kids. PG13 is under rated. For adults. 2 families left. 3 stars
8/18/06 sarah wooten very funny 5 stars
8/17/06 Pn. Special props to Cole. Drive-in double bill with CARS (if you've got the right kids). 4 stars
8/17/06 Jessie WONDERFUL... HILARIOUS... GRAND 5 stars
8/17/06 allysha awesome movie 5 stars
8/15/06 Ashley Hinz Forgettable Ferrell, not his best. 4 stars
8/14/06 EZ hilirious but the gayness ruined the perfectness of the comedy 4 stars
8/14/06 Ole Man Bourbon Pretty damn funny. Gary Cole is awesome as Reese Bobby, the dad. Cohen and Reilly goodtoo 4 stars
8/14/06 Zac Its a great movie. Keeps you laughing. 5 stars
8/13/06 pete and les terrible 1 stars
8/13/06 jcjs i know 'Awesome' is perhaps too generous but few moives make laugh.fine fun stuff light 5 stars
8/13/06 trashfishermen15 movie pretty lame; no need for excessive amounts of profanity. 1 stars
8/12/06 Braden Funnier than Anchorman Its definitely goin into my top 5 5 stars
8/12/06 Mitchapalooza 1 movie with a million catch frazes..i love it! 5 stars
8/11/06 michael Not as good as I had hoped but better than some others 3 stars
8/10/06 ken baldwin dumbest movie I've seen in a long time...funny to the lowest common denominator 1 stars
8/10/06 A its up there alright 5 stars
8/10/06 sheila Terrific fun and great even for non-Ferrell fans 5 stars
8/10/06 Elisa Giro Ebullient! 4 stars
8/10/06 allie This movie was great, but you have to walk in ready to laugh, there is nothing else to it. 5 stars
8/09/06 Dragon The Artist Ferrell's director needs to get a new click;same basic premisis as stupid Anchorman. 1 stars
8/09/06 Braelyn AMAZING!!! 5 stars
8/09/06 Maggie funny movie, not as funny as anchorman though. 4 stars
8/08/06 Jordan funniest movie everr..i would definitelyy see it again! 5 stars
8/07/06 Jennifer Funniest movie I have ever seen! Best quotes ever. Loved it. 5 stars
8/07/06 Bobby Can't top Anchorman..i'd see it again 5 stars
8/07/06 Trisha I agree the movie had the same premise as anchorman with a few different twists & laughs. 5 stars
8/07/06 Dan Hope team Ferrell gets a big pay check cuz the movie blows... 2 stars
8/07/06 Vincent Costa Very Good 4 stars
8/06/06 Unknown It was a funny movie but my favorite sceens were the ones with Jamie McMurray in them! 4 stars
8/05/06 Ole Man Bourbon It's cute, but it's crap. Too many shitty one-liners. Daddy steals the show. :D 4 stars
8/05/06 Brad Worst movie of the year. I wasnt expecting an academy award, however, it sucked out loud 1 stars
8/02/06 julie we laughed our heads off at a preview last night and are still giggling today 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  04-Aug-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 12-Dec-2006

UK
  15-Sep-2006

Australia
  21-Sep-2006




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