myspace layouts, myspace codes, glitter graphics Totally Biased Book and Movie Review: Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby Movie Review

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby Movie Review

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

Starring: Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Jane Lynch, Gary Cole,

Directed by: Adam McKay

Rated: PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, language, drug references and brief comic violence.

108 Minutes

I’ve got a love-hate relationship with Mr. Will Ferrell. Many years ago I fell in love with his characters on Saturday Night Live. A Night At The Roxbury is one of my top ten favorite comedy movies. (Consider how many movies I have watched in my shiftless life and you will be amazed at this statement.) If you ever ask me if “we are brothers”, I will respond, no doubt even on the edge of death, with, “No??...... YESSSS!!!!!” and cackle madly without any restraint whatsoever.

But then, a couple of years ago, I was taken to Kicking and Screaming, on my birthday. Friends and family thought that would be a good flick to take picky Kaat to, one guaranteed to make her laugh, one which she would not declare a waste of, not only her life, but her birth DAY. Alas, they were unsuccessful. Now, it could be argued that since it was my birthday I had higher expectations than I normally do and therefore, you couldn’t judge K&S to be a bad movie based on my vomiting-sounds… but, that argument would be wrong. Wrong on so many levels. My vomiting sounds are just and good, I assure you.

It sucked, and it made me look at Mr. Ferrell with a skeptical eye. Kind of the same thing that happened between me and Adam Sandler after Little Nicky came out. There were too many roles like Buddy and not enough like Federal Wildlife Marshal Willenholly.

But was he not one of the Butabis? Will he not always be a Butabi? No…..???..... YESSSS!!!!!!!

Hahahahahahahahaha…. See? Sorry, but I told you.

Anyway, I have since given Will a chance, but without expectation, in each movie or role he brings forth… with no less pain and screaming than in childbirth, I’m sure.... if I happen to be around when it comes on. There was nothing, however, short of a Voice speaking from the clouds, that would have made me add Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby to my Netflix queue… except perhaps a request from Bitty.

Since I would probably do anything for Bitty, including but not limited to: dancing naked on her landlord’s doorstep to reduce her rent, walk barefoot on really kind of sharp-ended and annoyingly unstable rocks for like, thirty or even thirty-five feet, and/or eating a sandwich with mayonnaise on it (hurl)… it was with enthusiasm, but no true expectation, that I put Ricky Bobby into the DVD player and sat back to watch.

I have to say, it was a pleasant surprise.

We know (or those of you who have read these posts for a time) that I am always in search of the Elusive And Actual LOL. I found it, watching Old Ricky. Ferrell’s character is a parody of rednecked American manhood, a race car driver without equal. He drives to win, and win he does….there are quite a few little threads through the story, including that Ricky drives “for” his father, a shiftless wonder who abandoned the kid when he was 10, with a few words of wisdom to live by, such as “If you aint first, you’re last!” R.B. spends most of the time joined with his sidekick, Cal, another driver, who sweetly stands aside so his buddy can have the spotlight to himself. The dialogue between those two, Ferrell and Reilly, is pee-pee inducing, I tell you. They have great chemistry and play off one another like a set of perfectly tuned piano keys.

Ricky is married to a gorgeous, ambitious, barracuda-woman who is driven to passion by his winning (and his money), and they have spawned two hellishly bratty kids. I know that the rest of my family really enjoyed watching the children behave like monsters, cursing at their grandfather and behaving hideously enough to invite a beating with a belt, and even though I generally hate watching kids do this, I wasn’t turned off, because it was simply more ridiculousness piled on top of the rest of the ridiculousness of the movie.

There are the (almost too) long gags such as Ricky’s prayers at the dinner table… he insists upon praying to the Infant Jesus, refusing to imagine Him as a grown man, and his descriptions of the swaddled savior are genuinely chuckle-worthy. There is the movie-long laugh of Jean Girard, the French, flamboyantly gay, race car driver who is Ricky Bobby’s arch enemy. (He speaks in such a horrible, over-the-top French accent you can’t help but laugh when R.B tells him “you sound like a dog with peanut butter on the roof of your mouth”).Then there are the blink and you’ll miss them laughs too, such as the Crystal Gale t-shirt R.B. wears (yeah the chick with the hair…have I ever actually seen a Crystal Gale t-shirt since 1984? No, I have not.) and the fact that the French pit crew kiss each other on each cheek before the race begins while the Americans, you, know, shake hands and pound each others’ shoulders.

Talladega Nights follows the basic formula for success with American comedies. Big winner has some traumatic occurrence which knocks him sprawling from his pedestal while his evil nemesis laughs at his shame… tapping into the greater American psyche with that one. Hero must then fight to regain his position of glory, in the process triumph over evil nemesis and learn valuable lessons about life, truth, and the American way. And somewhere in there, it is required that a mousy, unnoticeable female character have a major transformation, becoming the Hottie So Naughty by the end of the show.

T.N. hits all the right notes for the formula, which would have bored the piss out of me normally, but this time, it was the odd and odder moments sprinkled throughout that kept me watching… and laughing.

I give it 3 &s

&…. The return to ridiculous humor makes me smile at Will Ferrell again

&…. The storyline itself was fairly cohesive and easy to follow

&…. Lines like this deserve an &… “Diablo is Spanish for, like… a fighting chicken.”


Please note, if you made it all the way down here, you're probably a faithful reader. In my last post to Kaat Litter I said I was making the blog private and to send your email address if you wanted to keep reading. I did NOT mean this blog. I have had a couple of emails about it. The Biased Book and Movie Review will remain public. :)

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6 Comments:

Blogger Bitty said...

I was almost afraid to read the review! I was afraid I'd sentenced you to two hours of retching, especially after I read your intro.

And I would never ask you to eat mayo because I'm not that fond of it myself. We can talk about the other things. :)

I didn't want to watch the movie, either; I was trapped at someone's home during the holidays and had no choice but to sit in her living room while she watched this, but a few minutes into it I was hooked.

"Elusive And Actual LOL" -- that says it all.

What I find super-clever about it is that NASCAR lovers will love this movie, thinking that it confirms all that is good and holy about their sport. And NASCAR loathers will love it, thinking that it confirms that NASCAR is nonsense.

Win-win.

We particularly enjoyed the Applebee's jokes, since members of our family work there.

11:13 AM  
Blogger Meowkaat said...

Yes, as test, I asked one of my NASCAR loving friends what they thought of it- LOVED it. Asked a White Bellied Redneck-mocker,(as I call the rare things)and they loved it too. ;)
I have to say I laughed the most at Jean Girard, and his plump, German Shepard-training "husband". When the sports-show aired the clip of the two of them at home, kissing, etc... and then returned to the anchors, who were sitting there like they'd been paralyzed with horror... LOL that was a great moment!

5:18 PM  
Anonymous Josh said...

Hey, I like your book (and film) reviews. I'm currently trying to start a user-submitted review site which compiles reviews of all sorts of things (including movies). My idea to encourage people with blogs to post is that if they enter their blog's URL in the "website" field on my site's registration form, any review they write will contain a link to their blog. I hope this isn't spam, I'm just trying to see if people with blogs would think that is worth it. Let me know what you think.

9:04 AM  
Blogger Phil said...

With all due respect, and please remember that I said with all due respect, that movie ain't woth a velvet painint of a whale and a dolphin gettin it on!

2:04 PM  
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