Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (***)
review by Jon
Ricky Bobby is the premier racecar driver on the NASCAR circuit.
With a little help from his good buddy Cal, Ricky is consistently
number one not only on the racetrack, but also with his fans
and in his personal life. Everything is going perfectly for
him, until one day when a new racer breaks onto the scene.
A Frenchman named Jean Girrard appears to be a better driver,
which sends Ricky Bobby into a tailspin that he must overcome
if he’s to regain everything he worked so hard to achieve.
If you loved “Anchorman:
The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” then
you’ll like this movie. Brought to you by director Adam
McKay who co-wrote it with star Will Ferrell, this film is
the second in the “Mediocre American Man” trilogy.
It certainly fits the same mold. Take a doofus in a high profile
position and exploit the stupidity of him and those around
him for laughs as he sinks to the lowest of lows. It doesn’t
fit the same funny mold, however.
The film relies too heavily on a coherent plot that drags
out and gets to be pretty dull. The jokes are at times few
and far between, although when they hit, they hit full force
like a racecar slamming into the tire wall and catching on
fire. My big problems with the script are that they rely too
much on young child actors to deliver lines with the same ability
as established professionals, they don’t take full advantage
of all the cultural wonderments the NASCAR life can provide,
and they don’t seem to have quite enough improvisation
from the actors. I’m glad McKay is willing to let the
actors play around, but something tells me better lines were
left on the cutting room floor. The end credit blooper reel
is proof of that.
It’s tough to live up to the high standards
of “Anchorman” and “Talladega
Nights” actually gets lapped a couple times. But, compared
to other comedies that you’ll see this year, this one
is right up there in the winner’s circle. Will Ferrell
and Sacha Baron Cohen (Girrard) play off of each other perfectly.
So, you’ll definitely get plenty of quality laughs, and
some decent quotable lines you can use to impress your friends.
But if you’re looking for an instant classic, this one
ain’t it. But you know what will always be #1? USA! USA!
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