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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby



Will Ferrell is the funniest actor working today.

Period.

He even made me laugh in that horrible bomb Bewitched.

So it wasn't a question of whether or not I'd eventually watch this movie......only when.

The truth is that I usually wait for DVD to catch his films.

Not because I don't feel he's worthy of my movie money, but because I'm lazy and cheap, so when I go to the movie theatre it's usually for an event film, or a big action blockbuster.

I usually don't catch silly comedies on the big screen.

But because this film was made by the same writer and producer who made the hilarious Anchorman: The legend of Ron Burgandy I made the exception, and headed out to the movies to catch this flick. More specifically, the Drive-In theatre.

That's right the Drive-In theatre.

It's the first movie that I was able to watch with my wife, and baby cub in attendance.

And I wasn't disappointed.

Talladega Nights tells the tale of one Ricky Bobby. A boy who grew up always wanting to go fast. So what better profession to pursue then becoming a professional Nascar driver. With the help of his teammate Cal Naughton Jr (John C. Reily), he quickly reaches the top of the circuit. But trouble arrives when a mysterious rival Jean Girrard (Sascha Baron Cohen) threatens his supremacy on the Nascar tour.

First off, the movie is pretty freaking hilarious. There are genuine laugh out loud moments, spread throughout the film, and the cast, which includes Michael Clarke Duncan, Gary Cole and Jane Lynch are all affable, charming and enjoyable to watch. There's no doubt that they all probably had as much fun making the movie, then it is for the viewer to watch.

In the typical Judd Apatow style, the film doesn't take itself seriously at all. It's not afraid to turn absurd, and inappropriate at the drop of the hat.

But, I have to admit the movie was different than what I expected it to be.

For one, this is no small budget comedy. There are some huge set pieces, and action sequences in the film.

I'm talking big, expensive crashes, and expertly choreographed action.

Seriously, some of the scenes would give Tony Scott's movie Days of Thunder a run for the money as far as action.

Which I'm not sure was really necessary.

When I'm usually watching a comedy like this I don't really need too much action. Personally I like small, silly, off the wall type stuff.

When I think of a big budget action-comedy. I think of Bad Boys.

Not a good thing.

I almost think it's to a comedic film's advantage to have less money and resources, because it forces the artists to use creativity, talent, and wit to compensate.

I think a lot of the problem with Adam Sandler films nowadays is that he is depending way too much on special effects and big action sequences.

That's not what we go to an Adam Sandler, or for that matter a Will Ferrell film for.

That being said the movie is still pretty funny. I'm going to say not as funny as Anchorman.

But almost.

A particular treat is seeing John C. Reily in pure silly mode. It's always interesting to watch his work. He's a fascinating actor who constantly makes interesting choices, and to see him working with a comedian like Ferrell is just comic heaven.

Also getting plenty of laughs is Sascha Baron Cohen's strange homosexual character Jean Girrard. It's a scene stealing performance that almost has me wishing he'd get a film of his own.

I can't WAIT for his next movie Borat.

Some comic highlights include Ricky Bobby running around the race track in his underwear, Ricky Bobby learning to conquer his fear by driving with a cougar, and John C. Reily and Michael Clarke Duncan trying to remove a knife that was plunged into Ricky Bobby's leg.....by Ricky Bobby.

The movie is not perfect though....obviously.

Besides the unnecessary action. A lot of the great laughs in the film were seen in the trailer. The movie also features a little too much story for my taste.

I know that's a little odd to hear. But when I watch movies like this I don't really care about story arcs, and character development.

I want situational comedy.

I want Ron Burgandy in a Gladiator fight.

But, like I said earlier the movie is still pretty funny. I don't want to give the impression that I didn't enjoy myself.

Actually I'm still giggling thinking about moments in the film. Which makes me think the movie will get better with repeat viewing.

Also before I forget, I have to remind the viewer to stick around for the end credits, which feature bloopers and deleted scenes.

It's easily the funniest stuff in the movie.....maybe even the funniest material of the year.



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