August 7, 2006 Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
Studio: Columbia Pictures Rating: PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, language, drug references and brief comic violence.
Will Ferrell gets behind the wheel and revs up one of the summer's most anticipated comedies.
After skewering my profession in his very funny, "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy," Ferrell takes on NASCAR in "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby."
Growing up with a need for speed, Ricky gets a chance to get behind the wheel of a Nextel Cup car and proceeds to tear up the circuit. But after riding high, Ricky gets a new rival. Sacha Baron Cohen plays a Formula One driving Frenchman named Jean Girard who is determined to beat Ricky at his own game.
The two duel on the track, but Ricky ends up on the wrong side of a major wreck.
Now sent into a professional tailspin, Ricky's personal life suffers another blow when his best friend Cal (John C. Reilly) steals his wife.
Will Ferrell comedies can be hit and miss affairs. "Talladega Nights" has plenty of laugh out loud moments but I wish the star and his co-writers would restrain themselves just a little bit. Several jokes wear out their welcome. Many times during the film what starts out as a funny scene tends to go on too long. However, there are enough great lines and scenes for me to strongly recommend this comedy.
Ricky Bobby is a simple guy who likes to go fast. It's fun to watch him react when his perfect life is thrown a curve. Michael Clarke Duncan as Ricky's crew chief and Gary Cole as his shiftless dad are among a stellar supporting cast which delivers plenty of laughs. Ferrell spreads the wealth around and the movie is better for it. Some of the movie's best moments are provided by his two young sons, Walker and Texas Ranger. (Yes, that is what they're named.)
As is the case in real life, product placements are everywhere in this film. But since NASCAR survives on sponsorships, they fit right into the story.
Although I would have tweaked it in places, "Talladega Nights" is something you'll probably like. It's silly and funny and made me smile. What more can you ask from a comedy.
On my rating scale, "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" earns a Triple.