Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)

*. It’s a skit. There’s a perfunctory story about the champ taking a fall and having to achieve redemption. There are various characters who are just quick sketches, including Ricky Bobby himself. From this a series of gags are strung. Not physical gags so much, but the crude humour of people behaving stupidly or in a vulgar manner.
*. I say that without being censorious. I thought the foul-mouthed Bobby kids were fun. I just mention it because that’s really all there is to say. Talladega Nights isn’t a satire of anything or a movie that’s making any kind of bigger point.
*. Sacha Baron Cohen. Damn. Could they have given him a single funny line, or did they just think that having a gay NASCAR driver with a French accent would be enough? Given how he’s presented in the third act (his husband missing, his motivation in racing Ricky complicated) it seems as though the writers didn’t have any clear idea of what to do with him. Maybe they just figured he’d improvise.
*. The DVD comes with a lot of funny extras. Even the commentary with director Adam McKay and “friends” is done as a feature-length comedy track. Indeed, I found it just as funny as the movie itself. Which is to say, not hilarious but worth a smile or two. That said, the whole effort — movie, commentary, extras — is just a collection of random funny people saying and doing occasionally funny things. Also there are cars racing around a track and crashing. I thought it was OK, but I won’t be bothering with it again. It will live on in a couple of memes.

5 thoughts on “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)

    1. Alex Good Post author

      No, I don’t think a comedy has to be much more than that. My point, which wasn’t well made, was more how the DVD as a whole was a collection of that, of pretty much the same quality. There wasn’t any real story, or characters, here (I actually wrote these notes up over a year ago and I haven’t a clue what this movie was about now). This, in turn, was making me wonder about how you judge such a collection of bits as a movie.

      Oddly enough, I was just talking to a friend yesterday who mentioned how his teenage sons only watch movies by skimming through them to the good bits. It’s like the YouTube versions of movies that gives you The Avengers in Five Minutes, or the way movies get reduced to their memes (if they have any memes). Talladega Nights had some funny bits, but a few random funny bits was all it was. I guess that’s enough, but it sort of lends itself to the way we consume movies today.

      1. tensecondsfromnow

        I’ve been getting pelters for reviewing comedies of late, so maybe it’s just me. There is an art to this kind of thing, and a comedy takes the same assemblage as drama or thrillers. I feel that with comedy out of fashion, it’s worth pushing the values of these films, slapdash as they might appear.

        When I was a kid in the 80’s, we fast forward everything; nothing new under the sun!

      2. Alex Good Post author

        That’s interesting. We would have pulled a movie (out of the VHS deck) when I was a kid if we didn’t like it, but I don’t think I scanned forward very much. Unless we were looking for nudity.

      3. tensecondsfromnow

        I think you might have called me out correctly there, it may well be that many create films were gutted to get to the good bits in my teenage years…at least it motivated me to see a lot of films….

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