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Overall Rating

Awesome: 22.31%
Worth A Look: 17.69%
Pretty Bad: 14.62%
Total Crap: 14.62%

7 reviews, 88 user ratings

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Rat Race
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by EricDSnider

"What if the director of 'Airplane!' suddenly got 20 years older and slower?"
3 stars

Director David Zucker revisits his zany "Airplane!" and "Top Secret!" days with a broad, physical comedy called "Rat Race." The title is ironic, however, given how slow and without momentum the thing is.

Zillionaire casino owner Donald Sinclair (John Cleese) lures in six tourists and puts them all in a race from Las Vegas to Silver City, N.M. First one there gets $2 million cash. What's in it for Sinclair? He's got high-rollers from around the world watching the contestants' progress and placing bets on the outcome. It's a horse race, but with horses who can lie, cheat and (occasionally) think.

The racers: Buttoned-down lawyer Nick (Breckin Meyer), who is joined by psychotic helicopter pilot Tracy (Amy Smart); slightly dim Vera (Whoopi Goldberg) and her upwardly mobile daughter Merill (Lanei Chapman); scheming brothers Blaine (Vince Vieluf) and Duane (Seth Green); schlumpy middle-aged guy Randy (Jon Lovitz) and his wife (Kathy Najimy) and kids (Brody Smith, Jillian Marie); hapless football referee Owen (Cuba Gooding Jr.); and narcoleptic Italian Enrico (Rowan Atkinson).

This is a "one-thing-after-another" comedy, the kind where your pants fall down, then a vat of pudding falls on you, then a horse tries to lick it off, and then your mother-in-law walks in. It's the kind of movie where cars are always veering off the road and crashing through fences, and where people accidentally find themselves in the middle of a monster truck show, a bus full of crazy people, a Smash Mouth concert, a World War II veterans convention, and others too numerous to list. Each zany circumstance comes close on the heels of the one before it, each one serving the film only in that it gets the characters closer to New Mexico. None of them ever becomes more exasperated or more desperate or more introspective or more anything else. When it's over, no one is any different from the way he or she began.

Which is fine for a farce, of course, except that Zucker has clearly lost his touch for this sort of thing over the years. (His last two major directing projects were "Ghost" and "First Knight.") "Rat Race" has the attitude, wacky cameos and visual-not-verbal style of "Airplane!," et al., but is much slower and less funny. People like Cleese, Atkinson and Lovitz are well-regarded for their comic ability, but none of them registers much here.

There are laughs, however, sporadic though they may be. Lovitz's character, who is terrified of Hitler, winds up accidentally impersonating him. (For some reason, burning his tongue makes him speak German.) An extended slow-motion sequence involving Green and Vieluf is fun. And there's something comedically perfect about a Lucille Ball impersonator's hair catching on fire. A few other chuckles surface here and there. And so it goes.

It's a fine cast -- Kathy Baker and Dave Thomas join those already named -- and there's a lot of talent swimming around. Some snappier editing and a polished-up script would have made this a winner. Instead, it's an also-ran.

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originally posted: 08/17/01 14:12:45
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User Comments

7/25/09 Jeff Wilder An okay screwball comedy. 3 stars
11/02/08 Samantha Pruitt pretty funny, all the great story lines are great! 4 stars
12/31/06 kitfo a waste of comic talent. you can see most of these jokes coming from a mile off. 2 stars
11/28/06 Dan Surprisingly entertaining. Better than 85% of the crap pumped out these days 4 stars
10/03/06 Jeremy Davies Great entertainment 4 stars
9/04/06 David Pollastrini John Cleese is great in this. 3 stars
8/26/06 Anastasia Beaverhausen Surprisingly funny here and there 4 stars
8/01/06 David Cohen A rip off of "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad World" with 1/8 the humor 3 stars
5/26/06 Jeff Anderson Yes the Smashmouth finale was a cheap waste, but the rest was funny. Lovitz is a SCREAM! 4 stars
3/09/06 Dk Good comedy 3 stars
2/09/06 JM Synth "Hey, Look It's Smashmouth!". Nuff Said. Rest of film is crap as well 1 stars
12/30/05 chris f not bad 4 stars
9/12/05 Total Crap Hi-fucking-larious! But Smashmouth killed it at the end. GODDAMNIT! 2 stars
9/01/05 Dirk For those who like humor on the level of "smell my finger" this movie ROCKS 5 stars
8/31/05 ES some very funny scenes in an otherwise lazy movie 3 stars
7/10/05 DM Actually pretty funny (Rowan Atkinson is great.) 4 stars
6/29/05 darick Most of film= 4 stars, Ending (one of the worst I've ever seen)= 1 f****** star 3 stars
6/08/05 JD If you're bored and nothing else is on worth a look. 3 stars
2/19/05 clinger26 yes!!!!!! Ive been waiting for something like this 5 stars
1/25/05 Gray funny (hate Smashmouth though) 5 stars
9/22/04 Al Guy It had some laughs, but not the best I've seen. 4 stars
9/05/04 jmsynth Any film with a fucking Smashmouth concert as a grand finale cant be too good 2 stars
7/26/04 Katie I was laughing SO much watching this movie! 5 stars
6/20/04 Tim Airport radar and squirrel scene hilarious and few other funny bits but not fluent. 3 stars
6/01/04 Nobody Without Rown Atkinson, 4 stars. With Rowan Atkinson, 1 star 1 stars
4/09/04 Daveman The scenes with John Cleese in are hilarious, the rest of the film is wank. 2 stars
2/22/04 Ingo O what a piece of unnerving sh*t 2 stars
12/23/03 Littlepurch Brilliant! Y does it get such bad reviews. Reviewers don't have a clue!!! 5 stars
12/18/03 alien assassin not as funny as "It's a mad mad mad World" but still offers plenty of laughs 4 stars
10/30/03 Moparman Lots of funny moments in this movie!! 4 stars
10/19/03 Frank Andrew Thompson (FAT) If you have any sense of humour you'll like this movie! 4 stars
8/13/03 Double G funny 5 stars
8/07/03 Marc Ian Very funny ! (5 stars) :) 5 stars
6/24/03 Jack Sommersby A few laughs, but they're few and far between. Underwhelming cast, too. 2 stars
5/13/03 cinkcool funny 5 stars
4/18/03 Andrew Carden Occasionally Unfunny Airplane-Type Comedy...With Bad Ensemble and Bad Screenplay 2 stars
1/01/03 John Aster Habig great cast, good plot, mixed script 4 stars
10/20/02 St. Clair The only really funny part was the slo-mo escape scene with Seth Green & his bro. Hilarious 4 stars
10/07/02 Arsehole Man, if you have the ability to laugh at life... see this movie. You'll enjoy it. 5 stars
8/05/02 David Thorman I couldn't help but be fascinated by Rowan Atkinson's abysmal performance. 1 stars
6/19/02 Bada Bing Crosby 90% of it hilarious! Take the stick outta yer ass & LAUGH 5 stars
6/17/02 y0rt Good stuff 5 stars
6/06/02 The Bomb 69 No Airplane, but some truly funny parts in between some misses 3 stars
5/22/02 officer 412/l well,it's no airplane. but when it's funny,it's pretty damm hilarious. 4 stars
4/26/02 Jeff Lecky Anyone who enjoys this movie is an arsehole! 1 stars
4/25/02 lauren mccreight about as funny as "Dude, Where's My Car?".....i wish there was a rating below "Total Crap"! 1 stars
4/21/02 Dave MacDougall the best part about it was when it ended... 1 stars
4/20/02 stoolie-bird showed me a new level of boring..... 1 stars
3/31/02 NWO4LIFE Uneven, but fun farce. The was lacking, though. 4 stars
3/29/02 Mr. Hat (I'm Back!) Hilarious. 4 stars
2/18/02 Monday Morning Just sit back and enjoy it, you discarded douchebags. 4 stars
2/05/02 specialK worst film i've ever seen. i am still angry 1 stars
2/04/02 Glip Seriously, my parents laughed at this movie, if they found it funny, anyone will 5 stars
2/03/02 Spyguy2 So bad I couldn't turn away then found myself liking it until the end 'cus Smashmouth sux 3 stars
1/23/02 Sparky Polastri Hey get that stick outta your ASS! Boy if you hate this movie I pity you 5 stars
1/17/02 J. I didn't laugh ONCE throughout this drek. Mindless films suit their mindless audiences. 1 stars
1/16/02 David A. One Big Bore 1 stars
1/09/02 Michael This movie is hilarious! 5 stars
1/09/02 Jimbo Good slapstick stuff & funny....maybe a bit too long though 4 stars
1/05/02 Shane Robert Myers!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Another kick ass movie by the kick ass people at Hollywood!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
12/30/01 sarafina This movie. Made me want to kill, rape and plunder the inhabitants of the neighborhood 1 stars
12/15/01 Ian Barr Funny. Nothing else, just funny. 4 stars
10/09/01 Joe Blowme Great stinking movie!! 5 stars
10/08/01 Destruction Worker I can do anything I want... I'm eccentric!! 5 stars
10/04/01 Bada Bing Crosby A riot; loved it! 5 stars
9/22/01 mjm103171 I laughed till i was prairiedoggin' 5 stars
9/20/01 Christina Good movie. 5 stars
9/15/01 CHU SENG POONG a very funny movie, would appeal to most guys 5 stars
9/09/01 Deanna Long Funny, fast paced, totally mindless. I learned the term Prairie Dogging, I'm grateful. 5 stars
9/05/01 Billy Bob Hilarious 5 stars
8/29/01 jedrek Good movie to rent on video or see with a bunch of people. 4 stars
8/29/01 Michael Flynn 2001's funniest movie. You won't find better jokes about Nazis and "I Love Lucy" this year. 5 stars
8/28/01 chuck This is one of the finest classic comedys I have seen in a long time 5 stars
8/28/01 Brek FKn Fuck this, i'm druknk 1 stars
8/28/01 spaceworm Best opening credit sequence of the year. Cop out ending. Good otherwise. 4 stars
8/22/01 The Boy In The Designer Bubble My emotionally slow cousin said this movie was stupid. I kid you not. 1 stars
8/22/01 Rampage sucked shit 1 stars
8/22/01 Bada Bing Crosby Laughed like hell..what the fuck were you people watching? 5 stars
8/21/01 King Jackass You are insane... this movie is fucking hilarious! 5 stars
8/21/01 TimmyJ Not funny at all 1 stars
8/20/01 Dan stinks 1 stars
8/20/01 Otis Nang Pretty funny - that Bean guy is very overrated 4 stars
8/19/01 the scarecrow I was just glad to see Rowan Atkinson as something besides Bean. 4 stars
8/18/01 bnb nbn 5 stars
8/16/01 Brek FKn Another hollywood landfill full of shit, dirty needles and toasters. 1 stars
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  17-Aug-2001 (PG-13)



Directed by
  Jerry Zucker

Written by
  Andy Breckman

  Breckin Meyer
  Amy Smart
  Whoopi Goldberg
  Seth Green
  Jon Lovitz
  John Cleese
  Cuba Gooding Jr.

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