DVD Review: Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
By Jeff Swindoll Dec 12, 2006, 14:02 GMT
Talladega Nights is a Will Ferrell comedy and all the hallmarks that entails.
“I want to go fast.”
Ricky Bobby was born to go fast and the jokes come fast and furious in this Will Ferrell comedy.
Ricky Bobby was born in the fast lane. His daddy, Reese Bobby (Gary Cole), was so enamored with his rate of speed on the way to the hospital that he overshoots the hospital. Lucy Bobby (Jane Lynch) is in labor in the back of the car and lets Reese know that they might actually want to get to the hospital. Reese slams on the brakes and Ricky Bobby is catapulted into the world.
Flash forward about ten years later and Ricky is having father’s career day, his wayward dad actually shows up (he’s been absent those 10 years) and ends up getting kicked out of the school. His parting words “If you ain’t first, you’re last!” become the young Ricky’s mantra. We go ahead another fifteen years and Ricky (Will Ferrell) and his best friend Carl Naughton, Jr. (John C. Reilly) are part of a pit crew in a losing race. The driver goes to get a sandwich since he’s in last place. Pit boss Lucius Washington (Michael Clarke Duncan) asks of anyone would volunteer to take our galloping gourmet’s place, Ricky Bobby volunteers, and a star is born.
Soon Ricky is tasting all the benefits of being a top Nascar racer – product placement galore! He’s got a hot wife named Carley (Leslie Bibb) and two kids, Walker (Houston Tumlin) and Texas Ranger (Grayson Russell). Soon though a new racer on the track, Frenchman Jean Girard (Sacha Baron Cohen), is stealing Ricky’s thunder and he finds his life in ruins. Ricky has a crash that gives him a phobia about going fast, so the rags to riches kids is now back to rags again. He and his kids move back in with his mother, Carley moves in with the more successful Carl, and Ricky’s life falls apart. But Ricky’s old man shows back up to show him how to get up to speed again and back to riches again.
Talladega Nights is a Will Ferrell comedy and all the hallmarks that entails. He’s damn funny and I was guffawing at this praying to the Baby Jesus (“I like the Christmas Jesus best and I’m saying grace.”). He and John C. Reilly play well off of one another and make a great comedic pair. Maybe it’s just that I’m more familiar with Ferrell and Reilly that some of the supporting cast struck me as having the more funnier roles. I mean both Ferrell and Reilly and really playing parts that we’ve seen them do in other films.
Sacha Baron Cohen steals the show as the gay race car driver with an extremely exaggerated “Inspector Clouseau on crack” French accent (with his husband Andy Richter). Gary Cole also shined as the drunken na’re-do-well absentee father that shows up in the Mr. Miyagi (by way of Mr. Goodyear) role.
I do wonder what the Nascar set thinks of the film since it seemingly makes fun of them to a degree. However, I do think that they do have a sense of humor and will find many things to laugh at in the film.
Talladega Nights is available in several flavors. There’s the theatrical cut (which I was sent to review) and there’s also an unrated version that adds about 13 minutes of footage back into the picture. The film is also available (both cuts) in a fullscreen version and a widescreen version (2.40:1) enhanced for 16x9 televisions.
The menus offer you the choice of watching them with video intros or without. Special features include a commentary where director Adam McKay (as his son), Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly and more are pretending that it’s 2031 and they’re looking at the film on it’s 25th Anniversary. Next are seven deleted or extended scenes, running about 25 minutes total. It’s followed by a 2 minute gag reel.
“Line-o-rama” runs 5 minutes and is a collection of alternative or improvised lines in the film. An interview section has a 5 minute fake interview with Rick and Cal and a 4 minute fake interview with Cal and Carley (These also might be considered deleted scenes). The 5 minute “Will Ferrell returns to Talladega” follows Ferrell as he returns to the racetrack. Finally, there’s 1 minute of bonus race footage, the 2 minute theatrical trailer, and previews of other Sony releases.
I was not sent the unrated version of the DVD for this review. Even without the extra footage, I laughed at the movie and it put me in a better mood (Tom Cruise work your witchcraft and make it widescreen!). Shake and bake.