Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby (2006) – movie review

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Movie Review by EDF

Starring: Will Ferrell, Sacha Baron Cohen, Amy Adams, Gary Cole, Jane Lynch

Director: Adam McKay

Rednecks seem to be the order of the day when it comes to tickling the old funny bone. With the success of the MY NAME IS EARL television show, it was only a matter of time before a redneck comedy hit the theatre screens. Of course, comedy movies can be a hit or miss affair and anyone who has an active funny bone will find this movie very funny and silly.

When Ricky Bobby (Will Ferrell) was born into this world, it was not a doctor that delivered him into this world. It was speed, no thanks to his race car driving dad Reese Bobby (Gary Cole) speeding past the hospital just to reach maximum speed on the car’s speedometer. The birth scene is one of the funniest that you will ever experience in a movie. Of course parenting not being his strongest suit, Reese ups and leaves Lucy Bobby (Jane Lynch) to bring up young Ricky. The only time that Reese showed any interest in young Ricky was when he unexpectedly turned up at a parents’ career day at school. The precious knowledge that Reese passed on to Ricky and his schoolmates was that “If you ain’t first, you’re last”.

Of course, Ricky took this as gospel and decided to become a racing car driver himself. Well sort of. Both Ricky and his best friend Cal Naughton Jr (John C Reilly) become race car mechanics and coin the phrase “shake ‘n’ bake”. When the opportunity arrives for anyone in the team to take over a lazy driver during one race, Ricky steps up and wins. In fact, he wins all the races he participates in, with help from Cal who blocks up any drivers that try to pass Ricky. With his newfound fame and wealth as the top NASCAR driver, trophy wife Carley Bobby (Leslie Bibb), potty mouth children and the racing sponsor’s advice that Ricky chooses to ignore, what could possibly go wrong? The answer comes in the form of a gay French racing driver.

Jean Girard (Sacha Baron Cohen), complete with the funniest French accent since Inspector Clouseau, is drafted in by Ricky’s racing sponsors to show Ricky a thing or two. They first confront each other in a bar beforehand, which is a story in itself, but when they finally meet on the track, disaster strikes Ricky. Escaping from a terrible car wreck, Ricky develops a fear of driving and all attempts to get him to go faster than 27 miles per hour fail. With his professional life in tatters, his private life heads in the same direction when Cal and Carley hook up and Ricky is kicked out of his own home. With only his mother to turn to, how will Ricky pick himself up out of the rut he is in? Will delivering pizzas be the last thing Ricky does or is there someone out there who can convince him that he still has the thirst for speed within him?

It might not seem so from the trailer but this is probably one of the funniest movies to come out in a long while. The gag quota per minute is about as high as AIRPLANE. Even when the gags slow a little near the end of the movie, you don’t mind it so much because at that stage there are still more gags left than in most other comedy movies. All the principal actors are extremely funny and even though Ferrell co-wrote the movie, there was still room for a lot of ad-libbing from the ensemble cast. The movie does have some flaws but these can be overlooked when one gag just endlessly follows another. Even those with a tough disposition will find it hard not to walk away from this feel good movie with a grin on their face.

6 out of 6 stars