When looking at the merits of a movie and decide whether it is good or not, one must think of the goal of the picture. Is it a serious film, designed to comment on society, or is the movie's job to merely entertain? I think we all know the answer to this one when it comes to Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. This movie's goal is to entertain the audience, make them laugh, make them spend an hour and a half rejoicing in talented comedians doing their job well. And this movie reached its goal. Not only is this movie an above-average sports movie (it even concludes with a big race and a warm and fuzzy winner!), but is also a very funny movie. All I had to do was listen to the reaction of the sold out theater I was in and I knew that most people will find this movie to be very funny. Will Ferrell is Ricky Bobby, a NASCAR driver who makes up one half of "Shake and Bake," with John C. Reilly's Cal Naughton, Jr. being the "Bake" half of the duo. They are childhood friends who have now become teammates on the top NASCAR level, where Cal sets up the play that lets Ricky win almost every race--that is, unless Ricky has already crashed out of it. Talladega Nights follows the same story arc that Days of Thunder did, but is far more entertaining, as Ferrell and Reilly work together to bring humor to all parts of the racer's lives, including a bizarre dinner ritual that includes corporate sponsorship. Sure, the movie slows down for about 20 minutes in the middle to develop plot, but that may have been designed to give us, the audience, a break, allowing us to get ready for the final scenes of the movie. Sacha Baron Cohen (aka Ali G, Borat) plays the French Formula 1 driver who threatens to oust Ricky Bobby as the best driver on the track, perhaps the funniest overall character in the movie. There is not one scene with Cohen in it that isn't funny. After watching this movie, it is clear why Will Ferrell takes his comedies so seriously (watch the extras on the Elf DVD to see Ferrell between scenes, he's not always "on" playing the clown on set)--he gets the results he's looking for. This movie is laugh-out-loud funny pretty much from start to finish, and seeing Gary Cole return to comedy as Ricky Bobby's father will bring back memories of Office Space for a moment, then this new character will win you over.