Monday, August 07, 2006

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (***)

First things first: Talladega Nights is no Anchorman. It's nowhere near as funny, and the supporting characters aren't as delightfully silly. But when this movie works, it is the funniest thing you'll see all year. There is a dinner table scene early on where Ferrell (as Ricky Bobby) and John C. Reilly (as his partner Cal Naughton, Jr.) debate which form of Jesus they like to pray to that will have you doubling over with laughter. I also give a lot of credit to Gary Cole and Jane Lynch, who play Ricky Bobby's parents and give a much needed shot of humor and emotion in the middle act of the film. Surprisingly, the biggest weak spot of the film is Da Ali G Show's Sascha Baron Cohen. He plays a gay, French NASCAR driver with a silly accent. A funny concept, but Cohen never really finds the character and he kind of drains the comedic life out of every scene he's in. The races and crashes are shot well though, and Ferrell, as always, commits 100% to his role. Whenever he has a hand in writing the film he's in, it's a good thing.


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