Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

I can remember seeing this movie in theaters and now it’s celebrating a 10 year anniversary, seems like a fitting time to write a review about it. This review may contain spoilers. I know not everyone is a Will Ferrell fan, but this movie is definitely one of his best efforts. The first scene sets the tone and lets you know what kind of movie you are about to watch. It is about a Nascar driver, Ricky Bobby and his rise, fall, and then rise again in the sport.

Ricky Bobby (Will Ferrell) is a fantastic character. He is big, bold, brash, and hilariously stupid. His exchanges and interactions with his best friend and teammate Cal Naughton Jr (John C. Reilly) make up some of the best parts of the movie. One of my favorite scenes is after Cal moves into Ricky’s home and Ricky is living with his mom. Ricky is upset that Cal has betrayed their friendship by stealing his wife and home, but Cal still wants to be friends. Cal calls Ricky and is asking him how to have the stereo on at the same time as he’s watching tv, Ricky asks him why and Cal says “I like to party”. It cracks me up every time. Ricky keeps trying to end the phone call since he’s mad at Cal, Cal keeps extending the conversation. Ricky just exclaims “why am I still talking to you man?!” It is such a relatable situation, friends mad at each other and yet still sucked into conversation. We can laugh at that. What tops the hilarity of this scene is the level of dumb in the question Cal uses to initiate the conversation.

Another classic scene is when Ricky crashes his car and believes he is on fire. He strips down to just his underwear and helmet comically fast and is running around as he would if he were actually on fire. Cal leaves his car and rushes to “save” his him from the invisible fire. The ridiculousness in this whole scene leaves the commentators in the movie, as well as the viewers of the movie, to just sit back in awe and laugh. The film is saturated with scenes such as this, dramatic and comedic interpretations of Nascar culture and lifestyle, openly mocking the stereotypes.

Beyond just Ferrell and Reilly there are a number of high quality characters each played very well by the actors and actresses. Specifically, I enjoyed the contributions from Jane Lynch and Gary Cole as Ricky’s parents. They did not have the biggest roles but the scripts and humor fit the tone. Sasha Baron Cohen plays the main antagonist Jean Girard, a Formula One racer who was hired to beat Ricky. Sasha is known to play wild and crazy characters in his other movies and was appropriately cast for this unique character. He dialed back his usual intensity so as not to over shadow the main character. Overall it is a very enjoyable and funny movie, however it is definitely not what you would call a “smart comedy”. This is stupid humor but it will put a smile on your face over and over again.

Talladega Nights earns itself a very solid rating of  2 Apologies.