Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Written by Hombre Divertido

Ricky circles the track in first place, but his recent ballad has him circling the drain most of the time.

When you advertise a movie as coming from the people who brought you Anchorman and The Forty-Year-Old Virgin, you are setting the bar pretty high, and as we all know, racecars don’t jump as many bars as they stop at.

There are numerous bad elements of Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. The story is weak, the directing is bad, the editing is amateurish, but where it fails the most in comparison to the above-mentioned films is in the supporting characters and cast. Will Ferrell is a talented comedic actor who continues to give memorable performances. In Anchorman, he was surrounded with not only talented actors, but with a script that allowed for the supporting characters to have depth, and be funny. Not so here. Though most of the actors have proven their talent in other films, they have no chance with this script.

Ricky Bobby is the NASCAR golden boy, with a trophy wife, two sons (Walker and Texas Ranger), and a best friend who is also a racer. You get little more of a description or introduction into the Bobby friends and family in the film, with the exception of Reese Bobby, Ricky’s’ sauced, semi-professional racecar-driving father portrayed perfectly by Gary Cole in what is the best performance in the film.

John C. Reilly appears to be in over his comedic head as Ricky’s’ best friend Cal Naughton Jr., though he certainly received no help from the writers. The rest of the cast is equally unimpressive hitting an all-time low with the performance of Sacha Baron Cohen as Jean Girard, our antagonist. Mr. Cohen displays no comedic timing whatsoever, and is for the most part, painful to watch.

Where Talladega Nights does live up to a comparison to Anchorman is in its simplistic hero to loser and back storyline, as Ricky crashes, and has trouble getting back on the track ala Tom Cruise's Cole Trickle in Days of Thunder.

Though the writers went terribly wrong in the depth of story and character, they did manage to come up with some hysterical comedic bits. Whether or not they came up with enough for an entire film is certainly open for discussion. The Bobby family sitting down to dinner and opening with a prayer is solid funny, and there are many other good laughs in the film, yet there are also several that made the commercials, and did not make the final cut of the film. This type of choice leaves the audience wondering: Though the film will induce laughter, are we more inclined to be laughing at the humor in the film, or at the production as a whole?

Recommendation: This is like going to a bad all-you-can-eat buffet when you are really hungry. It may seem like a good idea at the time, but when you’re done eating, you can’t help but look around and say, “What was I thinking?”, and then head home to take a shower.

If you are hungry for laughs, you will get fed here because you can’t escape the fact that Will Ferrell is funny, and this film has some great laughs in it, but don’t be surprised if you stand up when it’s over and say, “What was I thinking?”, and then head home for a shower.

Wait for the DVD.