Written by / 2/19/2016 / No comments / , , ,

TALLADEGA NIGHTS: THE BALLAD OF RICKY BOBBY

year: 2006 cast: Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Sacha Baron Cohen, Amy Adams, Leslie Bibb
You can say that TALLADEGA NIGHTS: THE BALLAD OF RICKY BOBBY is one of Will Ferrell's best movies. Yet that's only if you're not looking to wet your pants with hysterical laughter.

Will Ferrell
But let's center on what the story is really about. For either in comedy or drama... but usually drama... it's not easy making a movie centering on professional car racing. And that's because of... the races.

Often being extremely difficult to distinguish one vehicle from the other, the rip-roaring direction by Adam McKay deserves some credit, because you'll always be completely aware of not only who's behind the wheel, but what place they're in: those racers being Will Ferrell's title character, raised without a father, who had only given him one line of advice on being fast and not losing; his best friend John C. Reilly as contented underdog Cal Naughton; or the stock villain played by BORAT icon Sacha Baron Cohen, whose openly gay character Jean Girard hardly steals the show, but his formidable confidence puts our dimwitted and (for no reason) overly-religious-at-dinner Bobby out of the racing game, where some of the, well, um, "deeper" scenes occur. Hitting rock-bottom, Ferrell seems more than a clown who lost everything.

as Ricky Bobby
And while the racing scenes are, like already mentioned, shot well, there's not too much initial urgency or reason for Ricky Bobby to win and keep winning, which only occurs during the usual montage of perpetual victories that, along the way, provide our hero a trophy wife with a mansion and two bratty kids. And dare it be said, but Ferrell's performance isn't too bad here. Surrounded by the likes of Reilly, Amy Adams and the late Michael Clarke Duncan, Will holds his own without having to out-funny his co-stars, who weren't hired to compete with him comedically anyway. As far as Cohen goes, there's a vibe the usually spontaneous performer gets so into-character, he doesn't even want to be funny.

And although Ricky's father, played by the otherwise brilliant character-actor Gary Cole, just seems too... skinny or something... to be such an unbreakable, womanizing, boozing stud... their chemistry works in an intentionally rushed student/mentor collaboration that makes NIGHTS feel a lot shorter than its almost two-hour run (or in this case, drive) time. So if saying "It could have been a lot worse" makes for a semi-good review, then there you have it. For when expecting pure hell and instead semi-enjoying a time-filling day in purgatory, there's a light at the end of the tunnel, and that's not so bad.

RATING: ***
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