movies, music and everything else

This blog is about pretty much what the title implies... movies, music and everything else.

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

the ballad of ricky bobby

review by Jane Doe

TALLADEGA NIGHTS registers as an okay mindless summer comedy – not great, but not awful. I guess, if you saw ANCHORMAN and loved it, then you’ll get a kick out of this, as it’s basically the same story reset into the world of Stock Car racing. It’s a serviceable comedy for the first half, then, midway through the laughs begin to drop off… and they don’t really come back.It’s pretty hard to critique this sort of film as they’re never about plot or character. Each scene is basically a delivery system for the next gag. On that level, I guess, the film is ok for the most part. At least for the first thirty minutes or so. When there’s an actual physical gag, it works really well, but when they try and inject anything else (like a bit where Ricky always leaves tickets waiting for his dad), it just drops with a resounding thud.
In a lot of ways, this film is like an episode of SNL; little bits of great comedy, surrounded by long moments of flat boredom. In a summer full of action spectacle, comic-book heroes and the occasional romantic comedy, it is the stand-alone goofball gag movie, and that alone may keep it afloat at the box-office, but it won’t be remembered as a “great comedy” by any means. When it works, it works because of the great group of actors assembled. When it doesn’t, it fails for the same reason. You expect more.
What’s good?
Ferrell. He’s doing his thing. I got what I expected. At least he’s back to what he’s good at – flat out stupidity (instead of something like, say, “The Producers.”) Academy Award Nominee Amy Adams. She’s in about 4 scenes and her character has virtually no set-up whatsoever, but she has one seen where she just knocks it out of the park.
The scenes involving product placement. At one point, they even drop in a full commercial for Applebee’s! They actually get a lot of mileage (pun intended) out of this. Gary Cole. He’s awesome in this as Ricky’s absentee alcoholic father. John C. Reilly. The always reliable character actor finds some amusing notes in this. Molly Shannon. In what I’ll refer to as the “flirtation and good vibration” scene, she is hilarious. Sacha Baron Cohen. Kinda good. He starts off amusing, playing Ricky’s gay French rival, but his portrayal quickly runs out of steam. Racing shots. Surprisingly for this type of film, some of the race sequences and crashes are really well shot!

What’s bad?
Hard to say. Nothing’s flat out bad… It’s just… there. And not necessarily funny.So. There you have it. Did you love ANCHORMAN? You’ll like this. Bored of Will Ferrell’s schtick? Skip it. Want to see it just for “Ali G”? Wait for BORAT in November. Did I like it? I guess. Honestly, I forgot most of it by the time I stepped past the exit of the theater.


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