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Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
There's a point in almost every comedian's career where he feels the need to do a serious movie and show his range as an actor. Bill Murray did The Razor's Edge, Robin Williams did The World According to Garp and Steve Martin did Pennies from Heaven. It's nice to see something different sometimes, but when an actor does something like this people generally freak out. Well with Will Farrell and his no longer fledgling career it finally happened.
Will Farrell has traded in his usual M.O. of playing idiot man-children for fun and he now opts to play them as real people and American heroes. With Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby Farrell combines the truly bold career move of playing an American Folk Hero with the Great American Sport of NASCAR. Praise Jesus!
Actually it's just a big, dumb comedy where Farrell plays his standard inept idiot. Basically the standard contract role that any former SNL cast member falls into if they don't wind up in Fallonland or Meadows' Meadow. This time he plays a hick NASCAR driver and makes a predictable spectacle of himself. The beauty of Talladega Nights is that it'll make everyone laugh: If you hate NASCAR, its followers and its culture you'll laugh through the whole thing as you tell yourself its funny because it's trueŻ! If you happen to be the type of person who likes to watch cars drive around in circles for hours in the middle of an energy crisis or watch a cock fight during bird flu season, you'll enjoy the witty satire.
Farrell re-teams with Anchorman director and co-writer Adam McKay, so you know the story's going to be somewhat weak, but Talladega Nights isn't without some laughs. That's all it is, in fact: a sequence of laughs with some weak binding. It was also a little too NASCARed up and I felt like I needed a bath about halfway through. It was cool to see Sacha Baron Cohen (The Ali G Show) as Farrell's nemesis, a French Formula 1 driver. I'm just thinking back to last winter when I first heard about Talladega Nights and I can't help but feel that the whole thing looked better coming from the glow of a computer screen that it did actually seeing it on a movie screen. Ah well, at this point a laugh's a laugh, right?
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