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Overall Rating

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 Collin Souter

"Dear cute baby Jesus, thank you for giving us another quotable comedy"
4 stars

The latest Will Ferrell/Adam McKay comedy Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby is as much a satire of NASCAR as Anchorman was on the media. Does it satirize and make fun of all things NASCAR? Sure, I guess, but like their previous effort, Talladega Nights really just wants to take the audience on a series of weird set pieces peppered with out-of-nowhere punchlines. It just wants to be funny without being obvious. Ferrell and McKay’s brand of absurdist humor has become a gift to comedies in an age when donning a fat suit or a repeated punch to the groin has become the comedy norm. Sure, there’s room for more satire, but when I’m laughing this much, I’m not exactly thinking, “What’s wrong with this movie?”

Well, okay, the thought crossed my mind a couple times, but the answer kept coming up, “Not quite as funny as Anchorman.” That may well be the case, but it’s still far funnier than anything else out there right now. Yes, even funnier than Lady In The Water. From these two movies, it has become evident that the key to Ferrell’s success is having his partner Adam McKay (the co-writer and director of this film) lurk somewhere in the background on all his projects. Not Nora Ephron, thank you very much. McKay has always been able to tap into that weird side of Ferrell and push it in the right direction.

The big difference between this film and Anchorman, though, is that it has more of a storyline. Ferrell’s character Ricky Bobby is an equally dense, but more good-natured buffoon than Ron Burgundy. His father Reese (Gary Cole) abandons him at an early age, but not without giving him some sage advice: “If you don’t come in first, you come in last!” With this competitive streak running through him, Ricky Bobby becomes a racecar driver. Eventually, he becomes rich and famous for it, obtains a trophy wife (Leslie Bibb), has two kids, Walker (Houston Tumlin) and Texas Ranger (Grayson Russell) and maintains a loyal friendship with his buddy Cal Naughton, Jr. (John C. Reilly).

Of course, once he gains it all, he eventually has to lose it all. Competing against him is a pompous, gay, French guy named Jean Girard (Sacha Baron Cohen), who runs Ricky right off the track and into a fit of madness that causes him to run aimlessly around in his underwear. This instills in Ricky a great fear of ever returning behind the wheel ever again. Naturally, he loses his house and his wife over it and has to return to living with his mother, Lucy (Jane Lynch). Soon, Ricky’s father makes a comeback in his life and an admirer named Susan (Amy Adams) finally comes out of the woodwork.

Normally, that would be giving away too much of the storyline, but that remains secondary to the absurd universe in which Ferrell and McKay exist. But just as they did with Anchorman, the rest of the cast has been given plenty of opportunities to shine. You know you have a great comedy when you walk out trying to pin down who was funniest. Of course, Ferrell, Reilly and Cohen have numerous great moments, but so does Michael Clark Duncan. Gary Cole adds another brilliant comic creation to his resume as the beer guzzling Reese. It’s a wonder this guy can’t get his name above a title yet. The great Molly Shannon shows up to play the rude, drunken wife of a team owner (Greg Germann). There’s no reason for her to always be drunk, but she is anyway. Even the luminous Amy Adams (who should have won an Oscar last year for Junebug) has been given a great comic monologue to make up for her otherwise underwritten role.

There’s no reason to get into what makes this movie funny. Movie reviews are the worst when it comes to describing what’s funny in a film. Seriously, do you want me to give away the jokes? No. It’s safe to assume that if you don’t like Will Ferrell, you probably won’t like this movie. For the rest of us, we all have something fun to go see with a big group of friends. Most comedies these days strive for that sort of adulation, but few achieve it. Owen Wilson can’t do it. The Wayans Brothers are like comic kryptonite. Nacho Libre had moments. Talladega Nights is actually worth the price of admission…if only for that scene with the cougar. I can't describe it. You have to be there.

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originally posted: 08/04/06 14:28:10
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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
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  04-Aug-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 12-Dec-2006



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