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Friday, October 13, 2006

***½ Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. Comedy.

Directed by: Adam McKay
Starring: Will Farrell & John C. Reilly

Yeah, I know. Shoot me now. I've read 5 books that I haven't written about yet; the poll looks wonky no matter how much I play with the html; and I'm tired. But I've decided to write about movies now, too. I think it was that last bit that made me do it--I'm too tired to realize it's Not A Good Idea.

Anyway, we just got back from seeing this at Baumholder. Our first time at that theater, btw. It's not bad, but the floor is completely horizontal, so if it's at all crowded, you're screwed if you want to actually see the screen. It does, however, have a balcony--I haven't seen a theater with a balcony in years. Cool.

This was actually better than I'd expected. I'm not a NASCAR fan, but Will Farrell does on occasion make me laugh.

And laugh I did. Ricky Bobby (Will Farrell) is a born race car driver who becomes a champion, until an accident leaves him psychologically unable to race again. John C. Reilly plays his sidekick, always coming in second, helping Ricky Bobby win. Will Farrell's over-the-top goofiness was toned town a bit--a small bit, which for me made the movie funnier, because I was laughing at the lines and situations rather than at Will Farrell.

NASCAR is lavishly lampooned, but in such an extravagant and good-humored way that I doubt fans would be offended--the movie takes the stereotypes and runs with them. And there are a couple of subplots that keep the movie interesting--Ricky Bobby's kids are uncontrolled brats until his mother takes them in hand; he has to deal with betrayal and the consequences of his treatment of his best friend; there's love lost and found; and the commitment-phobic father who set him on the path to racing returns to put him back on track (heh. pun. sorry.) with hilarious training tactics.

Jane Lynch and Gary Cole as Ricky Bobby's parents have the best roles, I think--funny, but low-key. The kids were over-the-top both when they were obnoxious and when they were reformed, but that, oddly enough, kept them from getting on my nerves.

We took the boys along, ages 12 & 16, and there were a couple of sexual references, but nothing that made me cringe. They were amused, and quoted lines from the movie on the drive home until the conversation veered into a heated discussion about James Bond.

It wasn't a great movie, by any means, but it was an entertaining way to spend a couple of hours, and a good excuse to eat buttered popcorn.


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