Talladega Nights

Bomb Rating: 

Whatever skill director Adam ("Anchorman") McKay might possibly have, there's absolutely no sign of it in "Talladega Nights", yet another in the formulaic line of Will Ferrell movies where Ferrell plays a numbskull whose outlandish behavior is eventually overcome by his sincerity. Not exactly the secret recipe for Coke, is it? For McKay's part, he contributes what seems to be an endless array of static shots of single heads. Want to know why? Just watch the end credits, which feature, like virtually every other movie these days, outtakes.

Rather than be a simple source of amusement, the outtakes reveal why the film appears so choppy and why there are so many seemingly disconnected head shots. For instance, in a series of outtakes, John C. Reilly acts out the same scene around a dinner table with slightly different improvised lines. Thus, we get the sense that many moments where there are consecutive lines of dialogue but cuts from one actor to another were actually manufactured in the editing room. For all we know, the two actors could have been in different area codes and it feels just that way, impersonal and cold.

Will Ferrell plays Ricky Bobby, a dim-witted man who happens upon NASCAR and dominates, utilizing a slogan he got from his obnoxious, absentee father (Gary Cole), "If you're not first, you're last." He races on the same team with his best friend, Carl Naughton, Jr. (Reilly), has married the hottest woman he can find (Leslie Bibb), and has named his children Walker and Texas Ranger and taught them to be as obnoxious as he is. To say that Ricky Bobby has a one-track mind is like saying that inviting Mel Gibson to your next bar mitzvah is a bad idea.

After an accident in a showdown with a French gay race car driver named Jean Girard (Sacha Baron Cohen), Ricky loses his fearless attitude and must rediscover both his humanity and his love for racing.

Maybe this film will appeal to NASCAR fans, maybe it won't, but it's as low a blow to their collective intelligence as one could possibly produce, so if the whole thing goes over their heads, it's a truly sad day for cultural self-reflection below the Mason-Dixon line. Ridiculing elves and 70's newsmen is one thing, but when liberal, elite Hollywood dares tread on the icons of an entire cultural region whose voting patterns are often diametrically opposed to their own, a backlash usually follows.

"Talladega Nights" may be wrapped in an innocent package, but the film is full of mean intentions.

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Average: 3.2 (5 votes)

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lrbloom's picture

I hate Will Ferrell for the same reason as Mr Cranky and I hate thie Reily guy also for the same reason. This movie sucks. I watched as much as I could stomach and I don't get it. Is this guy supposed to a hero or something. I got to the point where the guy comes into the boy's classroom at school and acts in a way that would embarass most 4th graders. This is what I hate about this kind of a movie - the main character looks like a total idiot of the sort that everybody would make fun of and deservedly so but instead it comes out that he's some sort of hero or something. I keep saying "or something" because actual words escape me. When your father is Dale Earnhardt of Mario Andretti then you can convince your buddies at school that he's a celebrity of sorts. For that matter if your dad builds septic tanks for a living, it's more respectable than this Ricky Bobby character. At least you don't get the feeling of beingforced into a sensory deprivation chamber where you are deprived of rational responses for 2 hours. This idiot acts above others and gets self righteous about it  (all because of some stupid catch phrase) in front of his own son's classmates (not to mention the human race in general). I can assure you there's nothing heroic or funny or even interesting about this. "Shake and Bake" is not a slogan that exounds originality. I'm sure this movie appeals to welfare bums in the trailer courts of the rural regions of some netherworld, but no one fron any civilized world should be forced to sit through this piece of crap let alone sing it's praises.    

I must admit to being somewhat touched

RidingFool's picture

by your rousing attack on Ricky Bobby et al; however, linking welfare bums, trailer courts, rural areas, nether worlds and the people who inhabit same to crap is completely unwarranted. It has become plain to me that you need to spend some time in the chapel of love professing your affection for God and country.

Can someone give me an A-men!?

In which I A-men myself

RidingFool's picture

The stoning will begin ...

Coaster's picture

when some delusional preacher actually has a smokin' hot wife. 

Stoning?  Why?  WTF?

I was hoping

RidingFool's picture

that Preacher Joe would be pilloried by mouth-breathing fundies for his shameless bragging about his beautiful wife and two charming pantleg-grabbers while blessing a NASCAR event. Obviously, he fit right in with the crowd, since no one had the temerity to suggest otherwise.

Or, as they say down on the racetrack, Boogity Boogity Boogity.

Don't you mean...

Rajah's picture

 Giggity giggity goo?

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