Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)
'Talladega Nights' is a sports comedy centred around the world of Nascar Racing. It's one of those outrageous goofball comedies full of absurd moments. Ricky Bobby (Will Ferrell) is an idiot with a gift for driving fast. Inspired by his father's (Gary Cole) words - if you ain't first, you're last - he dedicates himself to the art of Nascar racing and becomes an unbeatable success. He has a dedicated best friend and teammate in Cal (John C. Reilly), all the money he could ever want, a gorgeous wife (Leslie Bibb) and two obnoxious kids, all of whom live together in his mansion - life, is good. Then comes the fall - a gay, sophisticated French Formula 1 driver named Jean (Sacha Baron Cohen) shows up and defeats Ricky, who winds up in a car crash that causes him to become traumatized and unable to drive. Brought down to the lowest level and usurped by his nemesis, Ricky must overcome his fears and climb back to the top, while learning what's really important in life along the way (well, sorta).
Pretty typical as far as story goes. Some of this stuff is very funny, and some of it ain't - it's hit and miss script-wise. This isn't meant to be a 'witty' comedy, it's all fairly sledgehammer-like in its approach, so when I found myself just smiling or chuckling I didn't feel like the jokes had worked all that well. The cast is a mixed bag - Will Ferrell I've never liked and my opinion of him remains unchanged. He is amusing, but not funny. I feel the same way about John C. Reilly as well; his performance is very good (the guy's certainly a pretty terrific actor) but I just didn't find myself liking his character. The really funny guys in this, and the guys I wish there was more of, are Sacha Baron Cohen and Gary Cole. These two are hilarious and own every moment that they're in. It's a shame they never share the screen together, as that would have surely have made for some golden moments. As for the rest, the women in the film are bare bones supporting roles, but Leslie Bibb makes a strong impression with her slutty gold digger character. And then there's Ricky's kids, Walker and Texas Ranger, who are quite amusing in a strangely creepy sort of way throughout the film. And on a final note, the racing scenes are actually quite enjoyable, and though they are clearly exaggerations they almost make Nascar look interesting. Almost.
It's a fun film that has a fair few laughs and some very funny moments. Fans of goofball comedy will probably dig it, and I imagine that everyone else will, like me, find something to enjoy. I wouldn't say it's a film worth going out of one's way for, but if the opportunity presents itself one might as well watch it, I suppose.