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Overall Rating

Awesome: 24.79%
Worth A Look38.02%
Just Average: 22.31%
Pretty Crappy: 3.31%
Sucks: 11.57%

9 reviews, 67 user ratings

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Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
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by David Cornelius

"Anchorman II: Electric Boogaloo!"
3 stars

Those coming to “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” looking for more inspired comic lunacy from the team behind “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” will walk away pleased, but not overly so. “Talladega” is sort of an “Anchorman Lite;” there are big laughs here, but it’s all just a bit restrained, and as such, it doesn’t stick in one’s memory and become the home to high quotable silliness as its predecessor did.

The team is Will Ferrell and Adam McKay - Ferrell stars, McKay directs, both wrote the screenplay. This time out, Ferrell is Ricky Bobby (hence the title), born in the back of a speeding car. Growing up, all he could say for years was, “I wanna go fast!” And so he does. After a mid-race replacement puts Ricky in the driver’s seat at a NASCAR event, Ricky quickly becomes the hottest driver the sport has to offer.

The set-up whizzes by us all too quickly, content with skipping over the details and getting us right to the premise, which is, simply, Will Ferrell as a big, dumb, redneck NASCAR driver. Who cares for exposition? The film spends more time with a dinner scene where we watch Ricky’s family chow down on Domino’s, KFC, Coca-Cola, Powerade, Wonder Bread, and “the always delicious Taco Bell” than it does with explaining what leads Ricky to fame and fortune in the first place. Yet we don’t mind, because this is Will Ferrell in big-silly-absurd-comedy mode, complete with hilariously bizarre non sequiturs and the goofiest one-liners a day of ad-libbing can whip up. There’s a whole conversation about Ricky’s preference in praying to the baby Jesus (you know, instead of the grown-up, on-the-cross Christ) that goes off on all the many glorious wacked-out tangents for which Ferrell has become known.

If such a thing is possible, Ferrell and McKay have managed to drum up a plot thinner than that of “Anchorman;” like that film, “Talladega” is nothing but a loose thread on which to hang a series of the most ridiculous of punchlines. Ricky is challenged by a French Formula-1 racer (Sasha Baron Cohen, here far less annoying than he’s been in other pictures); Ricky gets into a nasty crash; Ricky loses his job and his smokin’-hot wife; Ricky goes into hiding; Ricky learns to drive again when his good-for-nothing transient dad (the very hilarious Gary Cole) shows him the magic of driving with a hungry cougar in the back seat (don’t ask); Ricky goes for the glorious comeback at the Talladega 500.

I get the feeling Ferrell and McKay only care about as much for the plot as it takes to get them to the end of the day, but hidden within this slapped-together nonsense are some giddy parodies of Hollywood formula - watch for the grand payoff in the subplot where Ricky’s always leaving tickets at the box office for his absentee father; these guys wouldn’t dare give us the sentimental conclusion to this we’re expecting, would they?

Even when not subverting clichés (which, actually, is most of the movie), “Talladega” earns points for simply being very, very funny. Most of the comedy comes in small but powerful doses, a single yuk here and there that just hits all the right spots. (A personal favorite: after selling advertising space on his windshield, Ricky laments, “This sticker is dangerous and inconvenient!”) A few times, “Talladega” gets laughs through an entire scene, such as the bit where Ricky thinks he’s paralyzed and his friends watch him prove himself wrong through the use of a knife and a leg. (Much of the comedy comes courtesy of supporting players John C. Reilly and Michael Clarke Duncan, both of whom match Ferrell laugh for laugh in many scenes.)

Despite the ample supply of laughter, “Talladega” is ultimately a weaker comedy than “Anchorman.” This one feels less inspired, less memorable, lees quotable. The comedy isn’t as consistent, the absurdity has been mellowed (perhaps to appeal to a broader audience who didn’t agree with the off-the-wall weirdness of “Anchorman”), the sarcasm subdued just enough to notice. “Anchorman” was memorably silly from start to finish, while “Talladega” works more sporadically. It’s still funny, but not as often.

Still, it’s well worth seeing, as it does achieve the only thing it’s really aiming to accomplish: it’s funny as hell. Even without the repeat comedy value of its predecessor, what laughs we do get make this return enjoyable for fans of Ferrell’s style of comic riffing. Shake and bake, Ricky Bobby. Shake and bake.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=14906&reviewer=392
originally posted: 08/03/06 22:29:50
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User Comments

3/18/16 Charles Tatum Plotless but quotable 4 stars
10/21/12 Sean Harrison Proof Will Ferrel can actually be funny if he chooses. 4 stars
3/08/08 jbubbles The only reason to see this movie is for Sasha Baron Cohen and he's not even in it alot. i 1 stars
1/22/08 Chase Overall it was a good movie, but it had its bad parts. Shake and Bake!! 4 stars
8/06/07 mr.mike so bad it made me long for "Stroker Ace" 2 stars
4/27/07 Dark Enchantress it was okay, not the best but okay 3 stars
4/15/07 Ricky awesome !! 5 stars
4/10/07 Dan Very funny, though the gay French driver subplot falls a little flat. Anchorman is better. 4 stars
3/26/07 Angela Movie is hilarious. Those who dispute should remove stick from anus 5 stars
2/12/07 Indrid Cold Not bad. Somewhat quirkier and funnier than a typical mainstream comedy. 4 stars
1/26/07 Tamara Leonard I found it disgusting, degrading and insulting as a Southern lady. 1 stars
1/21/07 del shake and bake=some parts good, some bad 3 stars
1/07/07 Jack & Dianne Moronic unfunny boring slapstick; unappealing characters; hit "stop" after 30 min. 1 stars
12/28/06 Phil M. Aficionado I guess I just don't have much of an appetite for Ferrell anymore. Snoozer 2 stars
12/23/06 chris that movie wasted the last two hours of my life. id rather beat off with a sos pad 1 stars
12/21/06 Kara I love this movie, it is halarious and Will Ferrell is amazing! 5 stars
12/12/06 sean u people who didnt like it or laugh are completely retarded, justt like voting for bush 5 stars
12/12/06 Gerrit ONE OF THE BEST WILL FERREL MOVIES 5 stars
11/17/06 Elza Hudson Terribly boring 1 stars
11/12/06 Caiphn Definately has some really funny moments, it's no Anchorman though. 3 stars
11/07/06 Jenna Furr MUCH MUCH better than ANCHORMAN, but still barely average. 3 stars
10/30/06 Jacko wacko Made me think of Dodgeball and was to slow and unintersting 2 stars
10/29/06 john frei 5 stars best movie ever throughout whole movie your crying cuz your laughing so hard 5 stars
10/28/06 Tony Man If you didn't like it, you're too serious about NASCAR, or you should be in Church. LOL 5 stars
10/24/06 Drew G Pretty funny, though not as good as Anchorman 4 stars
9/27/06 heelyes06 this movie was simply amazing and for all of you that don't like it.... then fuck you 5 stars
9/21/06 Anthony Feor Terrible, pure garbage 1 stars
9/16/06 Miterban Isdurty Iit seemed like a one long commercial (product placements) 3 stars
9/12/06 Ryan Michael loved anchorman\ this was a bad idea for an adult comedy 1 stars
9/04/06 bobby b pure junk-stupid 1 stars
9/02/06 Dragon The Artist Ferrell's director needs to get a new click;same basic premisis as stupid Anchorman. 1 stars
8/27/06 Dan Not as good as Anchorman. Needed a better supporting cast (Cole and the kids were great) 3 stars
8/23/06 Chad Thomas Some really hilarious bits but uneven. 3 stars
8/19/06 Mase Minless fun, though the white trash caricutures become grating after awhile 4 stars
8/18/06 Stephanie Terrell Not for kids. PG13 is under rated. For adults. 2 families left. 3 stars
8/17/06 sarah wooten very funny 5 stars
8/17/06 Pn. Special props to Cole. Drive-in double bill with CARS (if you've got the right kids). 4 stars
8/16/06 Jessie WONDERFUL... HILARIOUS... GRAND 5 stars
8/16/06 allysha awesome movie 5 stars
8/14/06 Ashley Hinz Forgettable Ferrell, not his best. 4 stars
8/14/06 EZ hilirious but the gayness ruined the perfectness of the comedy 4 stars
8/13/06 Ole Man Bourbon Pretty damn funny. Gary Cole is awesome as Reese Bobby, the dad. Cohen and Reilly goodtoo 4 stars
8/13/06 Zac Its a great movie. Keeps you laughing. 5 stars
8/13/06 pete and les terrible 1 stars
8/12/06 jcjs i know 'Awesome' is perhaps too generous but few moives make laugh.fine fun stuff light 5 stars
8/12/06 trashfishermen15 movie pretty lame; no need for excessive amounts of profanity. 1 stars
8/11/06 Braden Funnier than Anchorman Its definitely goin into my top 5 5 stars
8/11/06 Mitchapalooza 1 movie with a million catch frazes..i love it! 5 stars
8/10/06 michael Not as good as I had hoped but better than some others 3 stars
8/10/06 ken baldwin dumbest movie I've seen in a long time...funny to the lowest common denominator 1 stars
8/10/06 A its up there alright 5 stars
8/09/06 sheila Terrific fun and great even for non-Ferrell fans 5 stars
8/09/06 Elisa Giro Ebullient! 4 stars
8/09/06 allie This movie was great, but you have to walk in ready to laugh, there is nothing else to it. 5 stars
8/08/06 Dragon The Artist Ferrell's director needs to get a new click;same basic premisis as stupid Anchorman. 1 stars
8/08/06 Braelyn AMAZING!!! 5 stars
8/08/06 Maggie funny movie, not as funny as anchorman though. 4 stars
8/07/06 Jordan funniest movie everr..i would definitelyy see it again! 5 stars
8/07/06 Jennifer Funniest movie I have ever seen! Best quotes ever. Loved it. 5 stars
8/07/06 Bobby Can't top Anchorman..i'd see it again 5 stars
8/06/06 Trisha I agree the movie had the same premise as anchorman with a few different twists & laughs. 5 stars
8/06/06 Dan Hope team Ferrell gets a big pay check cuz the movie blows... 2 stars
8/06/06 Vincent Costa Very Good 4 stars
8/05/06 Unknown It was a funny movie but my favorite sceens were the ones with Jamie McMurray in them! 4 stars
8/04/06 Ole Man Bourbon It's cute, but it's crap. Too many shitty one-liners. Daddy steals the show. :D 4 stars
8/04/06 Brad Worst movie of the year. I wasnt expecting an academy award, however, it sucked out loud 1 stars
8/01/06 julie we laughed our heads off at a preview last night and are still giggling today 5 stars
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  04-Aug-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 12-Dec-2006



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