Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006) Poster

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The "Anchorman" of the Nascar movies!
Doodadmagic30 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Here is the review my wife and I wrote for cincity2000.com

Talladega Superspeedway. For those unfamiliar, it is NASCAR's biggest and fastest race track, and the setting for the latest Will Ferrell comedy Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. I'm no fan of professional racing, but I do know funny. Put Will Ferrell in the driver's seat of a stock car, cast John C. Reilly (so wonderful in Chicago) as his best friend, and pit Sacha Baron Cohen (best known as Ali G.) as his rival and you can be almost guaranteed a good movie.

Here's the deal…Ricky Bobby (Will Ferrell) is born in the backseat of a souped-up Chevelle. His motivation in life is given to him when he is ten years old by his alcoholic father: "If you ain't first, you're last." This mantra carries him to the pit crew of a losing race team. When he's given the chance to finish a race, Ricky shows that there isn't much he won't do to win. Teamed with his best friend Cal Naughton, Jr. (Reilly) they become 'Shake and Bake' and go on to NASCAR super-stardom. Ricky has the perfect life. A sexy wife, a family, riches. Enter Jean Girard (Cohen), a flamboyant Frenchman who begins to unravel Ricky's perfect world by beating him on and off the track. Ricky is forced to deal with his own fears. And a cougar.

What's this, you say? A Comedy? Sounds more like the 'feel good' movie of the summer! Perhaps I failed to mention that Jean Girard is a gay married man (Andy Richter plays his husband in a decidedly underwritten role) who sips espresso while he races. Or that Ricky and his wife Carley (the hot Leslie Bibb) have two delinquent sons named Walker and Texas Ranger. And how about the cougar? Oh, I know I mentioned the cougar! All this and more mixes together very well under the comedic eye of Adam McKay, who wrote (along with Ferrell) and directed.

Talladega Nights takes the whole All-American-Dream concept and makes it funny. It's Rudy with belly laughs. Better yet, it's the Anchorman of car racing, which makes sense since McKay did that movie, too. A lot of the scenes felt improvised, but by seasoned professionals. And with a great cast that included Gary Cole and Amy Adams, the jokes were constant and seamless. From an extended dinner grace addressed to 'tiny, baby, Christmas Jesus' to Molly Shannon's portrayal of the drunken wife of the team owner, the movie never failed to make you laugh. As an added bonus, this movie also has some great action. The race sequences were very believable and the crashes were amazing.

To be completely fair, there were moments when some of the scenes dragged a little. And some characters you will not like as much as others. But all in all, an enjoyable, laugh out loud experience for anyone 13 years and up. Shake and Bake, baby!
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Sharp & Stupid
tonyleonardo3 August 2006
It's a pretty funny movie. You could tell Will Ferrell and Sacha Cohen (aka Ali G) and John C. Reilly all had the opportunity to improvise lines and riff on one another, and all three were pretty good.

Ricky Bobby's kids were given some choice lines and nailed home some great (albeit loud and aggro) deliveries. Amy Adams is totally hot. The dad role was well-played. The car action was money and you couldn't quite tell when it was CG and when it was recreated action, so that was good. They did it right.

The overabundance of seeded advertising was acknowledged in the film's dialogue and concretely addressed at the end of the movie (when Ricky Bobby goes sponsorless0 but it was still kind of annoying. I just can't understand how Hollywood blockbusters need more money. They could do the same movie without the extra $$ I think, but in this particular movie, set as it is with NASCAR, it certainly fits in the world we see on screen if there is rampant, colorful advertising.

So it's a good movie, a lot of gut laughs, and not unlike Dodgeball or Anchorman or the like...
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Great Lampoon of NASCAR- Best Comedy of 2006
DKosty12313 August 2006
This movie does something that is rarely done successfully done, pokes fun at the modern NASCAR circuit. Without detailing all the gags, this is pure fun which doesn't offend the tastes too often. Will Farrell is patently absurd as Ricky Bobby & the support he receives in this film from the entire cast is excellent. Gary Cole is very solid as Ricky's dad, & so is Jane Lynch as his mom. Amy Adams is solid too. In fact, the entire cast including John C. Reilly seems to have been fit into their roles like gloves.

Sasha Cohen comes off better in this as Ricky Bobbys French nemesis than he does in even Borat. He is used perfectly & fits his role really well. The story line works really well as the evolution from speed too shake & bake too magic man & me helps keep the film focused on something besides the jokes. There is just enough plot to hang the jokes on.

The script is lots of fun with references to lots of things besides NASCAR & Sex (which is all too often the only thing done as comedy today). This film proves that outrageous is much better than sex when done right as comedy. Thank goodness this is much better than the ill conceived BETWITCHED Farrell did in 2005. This film is really an excellent showcase for everyone involved. If your a NASCAR fan, you should even get some extra fun out of this one.

Get ready for the checkered flag Ricky Booby, this film is a winner all the way.
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Pure Funny!
osusullins17 July 2006
I was lucky enough to be at a premiere in Chicago for this movie and it was pure fun entertainment. I am not a nascar fan and I love this movie. First off let me say that most of the scenes that they show in the previews are not in the movie, or are at least altered from the trailer version. The characters are extremely funny. John C. Reily and Will Farrell make a perfect red-neck match in this comedy. They play off each other and you can tell that they must have had a blast making this movie. The scene where they are saying grace around the table will, in my opinion, go down as one of the funniest scenes ever. I rank this movie right up there with other will Farrell greats like Old School, Wedding Crashers and Anchorman. So, whether you are a will Farrell fan or not, if you just enjoy fun movies that will have you laughing out loud from start to finish, than you should definitely go check this movie out when it comes out. I will be the guy in the front of the line waiting to get my ticket to see this movie again. A+
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Very Good!
sarahcats122728 August 2007
I liked this movie a LOT. I think it's annoying how people come on here and whine and cry about poking fun at things...boo hoo he joked about boobs or gay people or Jesus or whatever...every single comment I read was someone who didn't like it because it offended them. It's a comedy, grow up!! Of course it's going to make fun of things, what else would make it funny? I thought that this movie was HILARIOUS, I am a very big fan of Will Ferrell I can't think of one movie I seen with him in it that I didn't like! So please, if you're that easily offended, next time you wanna rent a movie, for all out sakes, DON'T pick up a comedy. GEEZ!
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"I wanna go fast!"
Ryan4 August 2006
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.
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Long Overdue NASCAR Parody
WasteBot4 August 2006
You still get plenty of fast paced action, muscle cars, and massive car crashes. You just get to laugh a lot too.

Will Ferrell really doesn't get enough credit for his acting. As mindless as it seems, he still manages to make it believable. You have to keep in mind it's usually during over-the-top parodies, so it's supposed to be carefree and with complete disdain, yet he still manages to make it intelligent most of the time (at least in this film), so the result is far more than simple fart and gross-out type jokes.

He also had the benefit of writing this film, cast members like John C. Reilly and Sasha Baron Cohen, and a focus for the film in deep need of parody. NASCAR has been long overdue.
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"Shake and Bake!" :)
kelseyr-22 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
If you are a fan of Will Ferrell and Sacha Baron Cohen (from Da Ali G Show), you will love this movie. I saw it for free at a screening in LA, and I must say that I expected it to be a rental-worthy "dumb comedy"... one of those so-stupid-it's-funny flicks that I wouldn't have paid to see at the theater. However, after seeing this film, let me tell you that I can't wait to see it again and I'd definitely say it's worth the 10 bucks to enjoy this film at the theater with a group of friends! I very rarely laugh out loud during movies (and the friend that I was with says the same thing), but we were both cracking up almost the whole time!!! You definitely don't need to be into Nascar to like this movie (I'm not). In addition to the hilarious red-neck "dynamic duo" of Ferrell and John C. Reily, you'll love Sacha Cohen's character, the gay French racer Jean Girard. And there are subtle social & political commentaries on America throughout the movie that made me smile! Go see for yourself when it opens in the theaters!
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Dumb but entertaining racing comedy
mstomaso7 January 2007
In Talladega Nights, Will Farrell and Jon C. Reilly head a nicely assembled cast (without a lot of star power) in a story about a fool who happens to be a race car driver and who has based his entire life philosophy around a phrase uttered by his alcoholic father during a drunk - "If you ain't first, you're last". Ricky Bobby rides high in his largely unexamined life until, predictably, he eventually crashes hard when confronted with a gay French intellectual who just might be a better driver than he is, and a boss who does not appreciate his arrogance.

Talladega Nights uses a narrative and editing style reminiscent of the brilliant Deathrace 2000 to create an entirely different effect - unlike Deathrace 2000's intellectually challenging political and social commentary, Talladega Nights is a simple absurdist comedy played out by several stereotypes in the contemporary racing entertainment industry. The film is successful largely because of it's careful plotting and occasional substitution of slap-stick for (dumb) dialogue driven comedy. The script is nothing special, but was probably well edited in the final construction of the film in order to emphasize its occasional moments of brilliance. If you go into this without much in the way of expectations, you just might enjoy it.
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Could have (should have) been much, much better.
bloodpuppy117 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I really wanted to like this movie.

It's obvious that Will Ferrell is a talented comedian; his work on Saturday Night Live, his supporting roles in Old School and Wedding Crashers and portions of Anchorman are all very funny. However, Ferrell often seems to be playing the same character over and over, and with Talladega Nights, Ferrell has taken this a step further, essentially grafting the plot of Anchorman onto NASCAR Racing.

In theory, this should be hilarious, but in reality Talladega Nights just doesn't hold up. The problems with the film are myriad: inconsistent tone (too absurd one moment, too serious the next), unlikable characters, and a general sense that you've seen this all before. As in Anchorman, here Ferrell plays a boorish, unlikable protagonist who has ascended to the top of his game and conducts himself with varying degrees of arrogance, narcissism and idiocy; as far as I could tell, the only reason one would care about the Ricky Bobby character was because 1)you're supposed to because he is the main character of the film or 2) he was played by Will Ferrell. While Ferrell can be a charismatic guy, this charisma failed to carry over to his portrayal of Ricky Bobby, to the point that I found myself actively rooting against the Bobby character.

Additionally, the film follows a virtually identical plot arc as Anchorman, down to the presence of an antagonist who threatens with their "otherness" (in Anchorman a female news anchor, in Telledega Night a gay race car driver), a crew of moronic sycophants and yes-men to support the Ferrell character, and a denouement that strives to leave you feeling uplifted. Sadly, all these elements felt forced and stale (the Sacha Baron Cohen character is particularly grating, which is all the more lamentable considering its potential.)

Overall, while Telladega Nights did have some funny moments, nearly all of them were shown in the preview; it's telling when the funniest moments in the film come during the outtakes shown over the end credits. Considering the talent involved in this film, the way that it plays out should be considered a major disappointment.
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I Hate To Admit It, But I Liked This One
gavin694217 December 2006
Ricky Bobby grows up to become a big-time race car driver. With the conflict of having no father to raise him, life was not always easy. And now, as an adult, he is finally ready to meet his match: a French driver from the Formula Un series. Can Ricky make him surrender? Shake and bake! I really don't want to like this film, because I think Will Ferrell is past his prime already and on his way out. The bigger a role he receives, the less likely he is to make a good movie, because he is just such a dumb actor. Popping in for a brief time ("Wedding Crashers") is alright, but a full movie ("Elf")? I don't know. Yet, he took the whole film here and ran with it.

The help came from John C. Reilly, who was fantastic as Cal Naughton, Jr. While he is not the usual co-star of Ferrell (such as Vince Vaughn, or one of the Wilson brothers) he was a dominant force. Seeing some new faces was very good, although having "Crash" from "Anchorman" was a nice touch, as I would consider "Anchorman" to be Ferrell's best film.

Stealing the show was Sacha Baron Cohen as Jean Girard. I did not even recognize him until the movie was almost over. Cohen is a master of disguise ("Alig G", "Borat", "Bruno") and I would say this was his best performance yet. All the French references were great (Albert Camus, Perrier, crepes) and this character was so much more than just a simple parody of French culture. Why he was hanging out with Elvis Costello and Mos Def is unknown to me.

This film has the comedy that other films by these creators have, with constant pop culture references that pay off if you get it. And heck, if you don't, there's a good amount of really stupid humor, too (such as the imaginary fire). My favorite scene might be where they try to figure out how to pry out a knife from a man's leg.

If you want a cheese fountain at your wedding with nachos and seven different kinds of cheese, you need to see this movie.
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an entirely solid follow-up
Scott-10129 August 2006
Two summers ago, Will Ferrell and director Adam McKay teamed up for Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, the best display of improvisational comedy on screen since Christopher Guest (Best in Show, A Mighty Wind) entered the scene. This summer, the pair re-teamed for a sort of quasi-sequel as evidenced by the colon and "The Legend of" in the title. Will Ferrell stars as moderately dim-witted race car driver Ricky Bobby who differs from Anchorman's protagonist Ron Burgundy in that he is a more fully-fleshed out character. His need for speed on the track is guided by a void left by his race car driving dad's (Gary Cole's) abandonment. Along for the ride is the ever-so-versatile John C. Riley as perennial sidekick Cal Naughton Jr. who literally finishes second to him in every race. He suggests to his buddy maybe, just once, he can let him win just once to which Ricky Bobby replies, "Well I see where you're coming from but if you win, how am I gonna win."

Talladega is more likable to its subject than a strict satire, because it firmly implants itself in the Nascar world and picks on its more absurd elements. In particular, the heavy emphasis on sponsorship in NASCAR takes a heavy beating with things like Ricky Bobby being contractually obligated to include Powerade in his grace. The ensemble of characters doesn't produce that same energy that Anchorman had, but Talladega Nights did have some priceless bits of humor and it works just as well, perhaps even better, as a feel-good movie.
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An overlong and tired SNL skit
DarthVoorhees4 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I absolutely love Will Ferrel but this is his weakest outing ever. Ferrel has a high budget and one of the best supporting casts of the year to work with but he doesn't take advantage of what he is given. By mid way point the movie is Anchorman with a Nascar setting and new names. Sadly Ferrel has been playing the same character for a while. There are some moments of comedic brillianceut the rest of the film doesn't work. Ferrel can actually write a decent screenplay too bad he adds bits and pieces of nonsense when he could explore his characters a little more. It frustrates me knowing that Ferrel has the talent but he can't move on from playing SNL characters.
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Will Ferrell at his best.
manwithavanpro20 November 2007
Will Ferrell at his best.

Seriously… Here, Ferrell plays a good ole country boy with rocks for brains and only one worry in the world and that's winning. Sound like a familiar past TV character of his? Ferrell is also a Writer on this film with Director Adam McKay, who together have made a solid comedy team since those SNL days, including 2004's "Anchor Man." But standing just as tall in this picture is the surprising man-about-town, Mr. Sasha Cohen (Borat, Ali G, Bruno) as Ricky Bobby's French nemesis, Jean Girard. This guy is such a great character actor it was difficult to even spot him at first. But who else would be brave enough to kiss Ferrell on the lips?

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Funny - but more as performance art than as a film
JimboLimbo5 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I don't know that I'd enjoy this movie in New York or San Francisco, but in rural West Virginia it was absolutely hilarious.

A disclaimer: I'm a Southern white male. I was born in the South and live in the South. I wear cowboy boots, drive a pickup and prefer Bourbon to Scotch. I even like NASCAR and auto racing in general.

The movie wasn't hilarious because of the gags in the film, some of which are pretty funny, but because of the relentless parody of what passes for Southern American culture these days, and the reaction from the audience. It was clear that the majority of folks in the theater were expecting something more friendly to the NASCAR "lifestyle" and perhaps even affirmation of it.

I think the advertising gave that impression - a friendly caricature of NASCAR. Instead, it delivered a ruthless lampooning of the idiocy of fat-assed, fat SUV'd, inarticulate redneck-ism that is too often celebrated in the South. The bait and switch was a thing of beauty.

The movie touches on just about every aspect of the NASCAR persona, and hits very close to home in its ridicule. From the drug dealing sleazy father to the obnoxious children and the floozy trophy wife, Talladega Nights hits the mark on recognizable characters from around the corner, and then illustrates their hypocrisy and ugliness in great detail. The film grinds and grinds on the awfulness of the characters - none of them are likable or have an iota of merit. I think to many people, this will feel like overdoing the material or just going on too long in certain scenes. In the theater I sat in, it was a delicious silence of self-recognition in the audience and discomfort at seeing themselves mirrored in such unflattering terms. Some left fairly early. Some tried to cheer or find humor in the ironic "victories" of the characters or their insipid jokes ("shake and bake" actually got laughs and cheers...) but eventually, the audience realized that they were the targets of the film and that there would be no redemption for their on-screen avatars.

The piece de resistance was the final race in which Ricky Bobby defeats Jean, a homosexual ex Formula 1 driver who earlier defeated Ricky Bobby in a barroom brawl. Ricky Bobby overcomes all odds to defeat Jean in their private competition by an inch, perhaps signaling the hoped-for feel good ending for our beleaguered audience, but instead Ricky Bobby passionately kisses the Frenchman, making clear the latent homosexuality of his long standing relationship with boyhood friend and sidekick Cal is quite real. Silence in the theater - stunned utter silence except my son and I howling.

The South gave us the Blues, the best American foods, wonderful literature and poetry, rock music and so much else that is beautiful and essential to the American identity and culture. It is a damned shame that its most ignorant and ugly aspects have defined it for so long. I loved that this film so clearly and aggressively attacked the awfulness of the Walmart South.

If you want to laugh hard, go see this film well south of the Mason Dixon and preferably away from a major metro. That is where it is at its best.
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Wait for DVD, better yet, wait for HBO!
morellofiend6 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I got into this movie for free because I know someone at the theater, thank god!

I would not recommend this movie. It's a 90 minute long advertisement for Powerade and Applebees. Literally, during one of the scenes the movie cuts to an Applebees commercial. An actual commercial. I felt like I was watching a TV show and I needed to change the channel cause commericals were on.

If you think Will Ferrell is the best thing since sliced bread, you will like this movie. But if you have respect for good movies and want to spend your hard earned $9 on a good movie, don't see this.

I'm warning you, it's "Product Placement" at its worst.
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The End Of The World
Puritan776 January 2007
This movie is a perfect example of how the end of the world is near. I would rather stare at tree bark for 2 hours than to ever watch this worthless movie ever again. I can't believe how many people actually found this movie decent let alone label Will Ferrell a genius. Come to think of it, I don't think he's ever made me laugh. "HELP ME BABY Jesus!" <-- That's funny how? His acting is terrible and he acts like an idiot and other people love it. Brace yourself when you watch this movie, because you will think of all the other older funny movies that you love so much that will never be made ever again because crap like this keeps emerging to idiots all over the planet. It just goes to show you don't have to be talented, smart, or funny to be successful in Hollywood.
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too many plots. didn't hang together
briana-110 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
i went in with high hopes - maybe that was the movie's downfall.

in a nutshell, the movie had too many plot lines (the best friend plot, the new rival plot, the obnoxious kids plot, the prodigal dad plot,...) and they were not strung together in a sensible way. it seemed like they just jumped from gag to gag.

the rivalry with the French Driver ("formula un") was completely unsatisfying. one race, then the crash. then occasional references to "french can drive" during Ferrel's rehab.

This movie would have done better with less going on, but more of it.

btw, the movie had several funny bits, but you've seen most of them in the trailers already. but if you do go, stick through the credits for the outtakes, which were pretty good.

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classic Will Ferrell, but it's not enough
spaektor11 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
the laughs i had were isolated moments that weren't woven together in any cohesive sense... it was like a string of a hundred unrelated jokes, and most of them were bad. i did laugh, when Ferrell and Cohen were at their best, and when Ricky Bobby's kids went off. i do admit, my laughter spiked when the little kid threatens his grandpa, "I'm gonna come at you like a spider monkey!" that was good s***.

but the majority of it just didn't fly. the ads were ridiculously overdone, to the point where a full-blown commercial is inserted right at the climax of the final race. i sense that it was supposed to be funny, but it was just really, really annoying. product placement, great, whatever. commercials and multiple undisguised references to bloated, greedy corporations... screw that. i hope Applebee's suffers a consumer backlash, not that i frequent that particular chain.

Ferrell's love interest didn't get enough screen time. when she was on screen, it was painfully obvious that she was just being kept around so that later on the viewer wouldn't be totally disoriented by her reappearance. the wife and the team owner, the "bad guys," didn't have any presence or any good lines; she was just obnoxious, and he had no balls. the Halliburton joke just didn't go anywhere (you guys could've really done something with that).

now that i recall the movie, one thing that was good was the production value. the races really felt like they were happening, which added a lot. so yay, good race scenes. boo, bad jokes.
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Long and Uninspired
John7 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This had to be by far the worst comedy of the summer, not to mention the fact that it was the worst comedy that I have ever seen. Bland dialog, one-liners of people shouting nonsense criticisms at each other, and random references to a serious sport that nobody in the audience seemed to understand as a joke filled this movie as Will Ferrell's career hits another all time low.

People seem to think that you have to be a Will Ferrell fan to like some of the new material that he's dishing out, well I am a very big fan of Mr. Ferrell and yet I feel like the amount of time and effort put into the dialog of this movie was the equivalent of one third of the time put into the movie Anchorman, and therefore could definitely not been enough effort for me to chuckle more than once or twice in the one and a half hours that I forced myself to sit through.

Unless you like forking over ten dollars to watch someone entertain himself with bland, odd, and dull humor I suggest you save your money for another lame summer comedy or do just the opposite and save up for a Leslie Nielsen DVD bundle.
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Another winner for Ferrell and McKay.
BA_Harrison18 August 2007
I can't explain or rationalise exactly why, but I love the absurdist humour of Will Ferrell. And Talladega Nights is right up there with Ferrell's amazing Anchorman as one of the dumbest, craziest and funniest films that I've seen.

Ferrell plays Ricky Bobby, a pit-stop engineer whose life radically changes when he is given the chance to drive in a Nascar race. He does so well that he is made a permanent driver and pretty soon he is living the high life. Married to a blonde bimbo, with two kids and massive bank account, Bobby thinks his life is perfect.

But when his place as numero uno on the Nascar circuit is threatened by gay French Formula 1 expert Jean Girard (Sacha Baron Cohen), Ricky Bobby's 'perfect' life begins to fall apart.

Ferrell is very much a 'love-him-or-loathe-him' kind of performer, and if you haven't enjoyed his previous films, then there's a good chance that this one will leave you unimpressed. But if you're a fan of the madcap performer's zany style, then Talladega Nights is a surefire winner.

Directed by Adam McKay (who also helmed Anchorman), this laugh-a-minute gag-fest mercilessly rips into the world of Nascar racing, mocking both those who make a living from the sport, and its dedicated fans. But it also has a heart, as we see Bobby learn from his mistakes and, by the end of the film, find true happiness.

Very occasionally, some of the humour is laboured a tad too much, and a couple of the gags fall a little flat, but with so many genuinely hilarious moments to make your sides ache, one can easily forgive a dud joke or two. Talladega Nights isn't quite the virtually flawless, high-performance laugh machine that is Anchorman, but it's damn close.

8.5 out 10, rounded up to 9 for IMDb.
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Guess I'm the wrong demographic
djkeck3 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I use to love Will Farrel on SNL. The guy definitely has the comic genes, Unfortunately I sat for the first twenty five minutes waiting for something to make me laugh. The premise of the movie seems to have ample room for comedy, although as someone who lived in south for many years some of the southern redneck cliché's get a little excessive. The odd part about this movie is that one of the funniest characters is Ricky's deadbeat dad played by Gary Cole. Cole isn't know for comedy parts in general but Reese Bobby is somebody we have probably all ran into at some point in our lives, and somebody we would avoid if we saw him coming. To be fair this movie is probably aimed at an audience a lot younger than me and although not quite as juvenile as some of the Adam Sandler movies it isn't what anyone would consider sophisticated comedy. The characters in the story including Ricky's gorgeous and opportunistic wife should come off a lot funnier. The movie does have a few funny lines but just not a lot of comic continuity. Save a few bucks a wait for the DVD.
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Downright hysterical for the most part, but not as good as Anchorman
DonFishies13 August 2006
After a fairly terrible year in 2005, it should come as no surprise that it took another teaming with Writer/Director Adam McKay to score Will Ferrell another hit. Sure, Wedding Crashers did so much better than anyone would have ever expected, but all he had was a cameo very late in the film. His most successful film before that was Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Bergundy. The comedy and chemistry was excellent in that film, and even with the really lame material, made the film work in so many ways. Now we have Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. While not necessarily being a better film than Anchorman, it still ranks as a very positive improvement from the rest of the films Ferrell has been doing as of late.

Ever since he was a child, Ricky Bobby (Ferrell), wanted to go fast. After one of the fastest "growing-up" sequences I have ever witnessed in a film, we zip right into the action as Ricky is part of the pit crew for a NASCAR driver. After the lazy driver leaves halfway through a race, Ricky takes his place and manages to do so well, that he replaces him. Soon after, he is winning tournaments left and right, and even gets his best friend Cal (John C. Reilly) in as his partner on the track, helping him to win the races (and in turn, win second place after Ricky during the races). Ricky is leading the high-life, but after a few issues on the track, the team he works for decides to hire a gay Formula 1 racer from France, Jean Girard (Sacha Baron Cohen), to help shake things up.

The film is much in the same formula as Anchorman, only set more in the satirical world of NASCAR. There are the obvious stereotypes thrown around about the stupid, hick Americans who are into the sport, and of course, all of the sponsorships and such that go into it. These stereotypes are obvious from the get-go, and after awhile, are not too jarringly distracting. They work well coupled in with the rest of the story, and unlike Anchorman, the film actually feels like it has heart and has some fairly dramatic moments (as best as can be used in an obnoxious comedy). Of course, that's not to say that there are not a whole whack of outrageously offensive jokes and crude humour (the majority of which are absolutely hilarious). It is instead, a great mix of all sorts of elements that work on-screen for the actors and for the film itself.

A lot of the scenes are funny in themselves, but I find most of the humour to come from the minor quips the characters throw at each other. It is obviously not totally improvised, but the outtakes during the credits show just a few of the extra lines that are spouted by the characters. It worked in Anchorman, and it works just as good here. Unfortunately, there are a few too many jokes that just fall flat (a lot of Cohen's stuff just did not do it for me), and not nearly enough laugh-out-loud moments. There are plenty of moments of hilarity anyway, but there is room for improvement here and there.

Of noteworthy achievement are the ways the scenes involving the race cars were filmed. They look absolutely awestriking during the races, and look even better during the brutal car crashes. If there was anything that could take away from the comedy in the film, it would be the amazing shots McKay and Company create in the NASCAR races.

There is a little too much seriousness in some scenes however. It was great to see the film becoming more than just a stupid comedy, but there was a bit too much of it in some scenes. It drags the film out a bit, and makes it longer than it probably should have been. In some instances, it felt intensely long, but in others, it felt brisk and fast-paced. It all depended scene-to-scene, so it definitely could have been so much worse. Another thing I disliked, much like Anchorman again, was the fact that many of the scenes in the trailer were not even in the movie. Many of the money-shot, hilarious scenes, were in both, but some of the little ones did not make the jump to the final product. Is it negative to almost assume there are going to be tons of deleted scenes on the DVD (and potentially enough to make a whole other film out of them?). We'll just have to see.

The acting out of everyone is solid, and almost everyone feels perfect in their roles. Ferrell is always great as screwball characters like Ricky Bobby, and he proves himself once again in the role. He has just enough edge and charisma to pull the character off without making him too much of a joke. Reilly nearly steals the show away from him as Cal, the even more dim-witted and bizarrely spoken best friends. Almost everything he says hits dead-on, and the chemistry between the two is just great. Cohen is alright in his role, although he feels a little too over-the-top for his own good. Supporting turns from Michael Clarke Duncan, Jane Lynch, Amy Adams, Greg Germann, Ted Manson and Leslie Bibb are all great in their roles, but Gary Cole stands out as Ricky's dead-beat and drunk/stoned father. His performance is electric, and undoubtedly causes the most laughs of anyone in the cast.

While not as good as Anchorman was, this film still is a hell of a funny movie with some great performances. It may be a little silly, and some jokes may fall a bit flat, but if you are a fan of Will Ferrell, then he is back. And in top form to boot.

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Fallasleepa Nights
Knewsense789 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Ricky Bobby is born in the backseat of a car. His father is driving so fast, he over-shoots the hospital and has to slam on the brakes. Alas, Ricky Bobby plops out right there on the back seat. Not actually seen, of course, but we get the picture with the sound effects they had. "I wanna go fast" are the only words out of his mouth through much of his childhood. I wanted something to go fast too. After the first ten minutes of this movie, I wanted it to go fast right along so I could get the hell out of the theater. There is some funny stuff in this movie but I only really laughed a couple times, the rest were just chuckles if that. One of these laughs came from the delightful Molly Shannon (bless her heart). For those of you who are planning on watching this movie, I say go rent (or even buy) ANCHORMAN instead. After this movie, I can honestly say that Ron Burgundy is better than Ricky Bobby. TALLADEGA NIGHTS offers nothing but but high speed ho-hums and is very tedious. Nuff' said.
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Spoof Of Southern Lifestyle And Conservatism
fwomp15 December 2006
Trying to review and rate a movie like this is tougher than most might think. There are those Will Ferrell fans out there that'll eat up TALLADEGA NIGHTS: THE BALLAD OF RICKY BOBBY. Then there are those that'll snub it as another foolish not-ready-for-prime-time-style spoof designed to engage our dumbed-down society. But there is a third reason someone might enjoy this rather ridiculous film.

Hopefully there are those movie goers out there that enjoy watching parodies of various lifestyles, and this is where Talladega Nights gets most of — if not all of — its comedic punch. That we witness a southern Nascar driver with all of his conservative leanings hanging out for everyone to see was absolutely hysterical. Ricky Bobby's (Will Ferrell) big house, multiple gas guzzling cars (Hummers, etc.), a wife who's gauged on breast quality, and two kids named after a horrible action series ("These are my kids, Walker and Texas Ranger") are all over-exaggerations on conservative values; you wouldn't dare see one of them driving a hybrid car, for instance.

The entrance of a homosexual Frenchman named Jean Girard (Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat) adds an additional element in the American prejudice category, Ricky Bobby bashing Girard's foreign heritage while making a fool of Americans' naiveté ("America gave the world Chinese food!") The challenge of Ricky Bobby to overcome his fear of driving after a horrendous crash is only minimalist humor added to the film. It is, at its core, a spoof on modern southern lifestyle and conservatism, and that is what makes the movie work.
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