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Talladega Nights : The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
Unrated and Uncut
Will Ferrell, Gary Cole, Jane Lynch
Michael Clarke Duncan, John C. Reilly, Amy Adams, Sacha Baron Cohen
Directed by Adam McKay
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 2006
121 minutes

Talladega Nights : The Ballad of Ricky Bobby is an excellent if a bit long comedy movie DVD. This from someone who is not a big Will Ferrell fan. I’ve always felt Will Ferrell was one-dimensional character wise and overacted and overreacted to cover up his comic shortcomings (such as in Anchorman, Elf, and the very unmagical Bewitched). However, he has found a character he can realistically portray and a director, Adam McKay, who can keep his energy focused on the part. This, in addition to a pretty good story, makes Talladega Nights : The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, a really good NASCAR comedy you can now own on DVD.

Talladega Nights The Ballad of Ricky Bobby is the story of a NASCAR driver who is at the top of the world until a challenger, Sacha Baron Cohen as French and Perrier driver Jean Girard, causes his world to come crashing around. Ricky Bobby ends up divorced from his wife, living with his mother, and delivering pizzas using public transportation and some kid’s bike. Of course, this comedy movie DVD is also about making a comeback so Ricky Bobby makes a comeback.

This NASCAR comedy works because of an intelligent script by Will Ferrell and director Andy McKay. Even if it is a bit long at 121 minutes, mostly because of the scenes involving Cal Naughton Jr (John C. Reilly) after the Will Ferrell character crashes, Talladega Nights has so many good one-liners and bits that you keep watching because it is so much fun. By the way, it looks to me like Sacha Baron Cohen based his Jean Girard character on the Italian bike racer in The Gumball Rally.

Unlike many other Will Ferrell DVDs, Talladega Nights is worth paying attention to because of the many very good one-liners used in this NASCAR comedy. Although “that Wonder Bread car is toast” was a bit predictable, there are quite a few very good other funny lines. Also very good in this movie is Gary Cole as Ricky Bobby’s absentee father. He sets up a scene right out of the old Dukes of Hazard show with an interesting punchline.

Everything works in Talladega Nights even if there are a few plot holes here and there. Will Ferrell, Ricky Bobby, has found a supporting cast that really supports him in this movie. John C. Reilly is excellent as Cal Naughton Jr, Bobby’s best friend and rival. Michael Clarke Duncan is also good, though perhaps underused, as Ricky Bobby’s crew chief.

You have to credit Will Ferrell and Andy McKay for not going nuts on the sponsorship for Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. When so many other Hollywood comedies plug everything they can possibly plug, it is amazing that a NASCAR comedy manages to avoid so many obvious tie-ins. The one obvious tie-in, for Applebee’s, is so obvious it becomes a comic moment in the movie.

Talladega Nights The Ballad of Ricky Bobby is a really good NASCAR comedy DVD even if you are not a big Will Ferrell fan.


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