Anthony's Film Review
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)
Not hilarious like Anchorman, but there were enough funny scenes to make me smile...
Even though I find Anchorman's Ron Burgundy a lot funnier than Talladega Nights's Ricky Bobby, I do think Will Ferrell is one hell of a funny guy. This is the kind of actor whom you only want to see in comedies. He has the ability to be goofy and silly when he wants to. He will crack you up if you watch enough of his material. If you've seen the Cowbell sketch on Saturday Night Live, you'll know what I'm talking about. Because of Will Ferrell, I went to see Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. Adam McKay, who directed Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, also directs this one. I figure the film would be pretty good.
It was OK. I like how it starts with scenes of the young Ricky Bobby, including his first words: "I wanna go fast." Then there's his father's life-defining lesson: "If you're not first, you're last." So imagine the result. Ricky Bobby grows up to be a pit stop crew member who dreams of being a top-class race car driver. He gets his chance right away. When a replacement driver is needed, Ricky steps in and wins the race. From there, he wins every single one and catapults himself to the highest fame.
So it's not a story about making it to the top. It's more about starting from the top and falling from it, and in a comedy like this, it's bound to be funny. Ricky crashes his car, acts like he's on fire when he isn't, and encounters a gay French race car driver (Sacha Baron Cohen) who will stop at nothing to stay at the top. There's also the close friend who never wins first place because Ricky doesn't let him. As for his family, he has a smoking hot wife and two foul-mouthed sons named Walker and Texas Ranger. In one funny scene, the family prays before dinner and Ricky reveals his habit of picturing Jesus as a baby, leading to a goofy argument about the religious figure.
If I had one problem, it was that the really funny scenes, like the prayer scene, are too spaced out. Once again, I'm comparing this movie to Anchorman, which was so hilarious the first time I saw it. I laughed hard maybe about once every ten minutes or so. It's not bad, but a good comedy makes you laugh more often without making you unable to catch your breath. There were times I waited a while for the next really funny scene. Sometimes, I thought it would be funny, but it falls somewhat flat.
Putting that aside, Talladega Nights wasn't too bad. The only reason the film works is because of Will Ferrell. He has this way of making you laugh no matter what he does. It doesn't matter if he's convinced he's paralyzed or running towards the finish line to the tune of Pat Benatar's "We Belong." It would not be the same with someone else in the lead role. If Will Ferrell comes back with another comedy that is sure to be more laugh-out-loud, I'll be in line to see it.
For more information about Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, visit the Internet Movie Database.