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  • June 2018
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Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)


From IMDB:

#1 NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby (Ferrell) stays atop the heap thanks to a pact with his best friend and teammate, Cal Naughton, Jr. (Reilly). But when a French Formula One driver (Cohen), makes his way up the ladder, Ricky Bobby’s talent and devotion are put to the test.

“America is all about speed. Hot, nasty, bad ass speed.”

Eleanor Roosevelt, 1936


This opening line to the movie gives us a glimpse at the meaningful irreverence of the films nature and it works well. I’m not a big Will Ferrell fan but this match up with the source material and the stereotyping of NASCAR is a great combination. I really had my reservations going into seeing this movie at first and I could never understand how a Will Ferrell movie could have been one of the first movies out to be the poster child of a new technology such as Blu-ray or HD-DVD. Not long after the movie begins you understand why this is so. It’s all about the racing and there’s nothing that makes for a more immersive experience than sitting in a room with a nice big plasma and a decent surround sound set up to be able to appreciate the whiz bang of of cars moving around the track at 200 MPH.


What is it that people really watch racing for? Is it just the excitement of watching their favorite driver to win or is it something more sadistic as in my case to watch some really good wrecks. This movie delivers on both parts and adds some mind numbing comedy to boot. Don’t get me wrong the comedy is not bad but is far out shined in what is delivered on the race track. It takes everything that ‘Days of Thunder’ did for the sport and throws all that out the window. Which is good that it isn’t a direct parody of the movie but rather a different take on the whole experience that has enough slapstick comedy and dimwitted humor that makes for an entertaining film.


Hell I’m thinking about buying it just for the soundtrack. They really put together a good heart thumping combination of former hits that immersed me into the film even more. I can only imagine what the royalties are for the artist that they put into this film. Lord knows that it had to be more than putting together an original score. Even with the good song selection it played well into the whole theme of the movie. The idea that I got from the film was to give me a feeling that I get when I am playing my XBOX with Forza and listening to my own soundtrack and I love how things like that work out.


So where did this film miss for me? I suppose I could have done without so much about the gay Frenchman being Ricky Bobbie’s enemy and even though there wasn’t much sexual innuendo, I don’t think it played into this movie well and Will Farrell is notorious for making that a theme of his films. Take Blades of Glory for example. It plays well in that film because of the nature of the sport that it is trying to portray. Figure skating isn’t seen by many in the general public as being a predominantly well received male sport. That’s just the nature of it and when you have to take 2 guys and make them a figure skating couple you know that someone is going to have to be the ‘Bitch’ between to two of them. There is no where that this is really established in ‘Talladega Nights’ though so in my opinion it wouldn’t have really missed it if these connotations weren’t even a part of this film.


Having the Indy racer from France was a good thing though because it brought enough pressure to the roll of Ricky Bobby that gave him a good reason to have him make a choice about the direction that his life was going and to take a honest look at himself as a person.


All the roles were delivered well from the cast and it’s easy to believe that they are as shortsighted about life as they truly seem to be. From the pissy, brat kids to the whoring, shallow, gold digging, NASCAR groupie wife. It was all played to bring a good comedy together. I know for me that I was glad that I finally able to give this movie a chance, it really brightened my day.


This movie gets 3.5/5 stars