Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby

 
Directed by: Adam McKay
Written by:Will Ferrell, Adam McKay
Starring: Will Ferrell, Sacha Baron Cohen, Gary Cole, John C. Reilly, Michael Clarke Duncan, Amy Adams
Released: September 21, 2006
Grade: C

This year sure has produced some god awful comedies.  We’ve been “treated” to Little Man, The Benchwarmers, Big Momma’s House 2, My Super Ex Girlfriend, The Long Weekend, The Pink Panther and The RingerTalladegda Nights joins that illustrious group and the battle for this year’s Razzie Awards has become even tighter.

Ricky Bobby (Ferrell) is America’s leading NASCAR driver.  He is also an idiot.  Living by the motto “if you’re not first, you’re last”, Ricky accepts nothing but victory in all aspects of his life.  He must always be the centre of attention and anyone who doesn’t think so doesn’t belong in Ricky’s world.

An arch rival is about to arrive on the scene.  Gay Frenchman Jean Girrard (Cohen) has come to America to dominate NASCAR racing.  Girrard wins their first head-to-head encounter after Ricky crashed on the final lap.  The incident left Ricky mentally scarred and it’s going to be a long journey back to the winners circle.

My last two paragraphs give the impression that there’s a semblance of a plot in this film.  I’m sorry but I can’t think of anyway to describe how incoherent it all feels.  Most of the side characters wander in and out of the story with no purpose (e.g. the grandfather, the wife).  Sacha Baron Cohen (aka Ali G) is as unfunny as I’ve ever seen him.  Nine out of every ten jokes generated no response from me and most of the patrons at my screening.

I’ve admired Will Ferrell in many of his previous works (Bewitched, Melinda & Melinda, Zoolander) but he’s dreadful here.  He’s trying hard to generate laughs with his character’s over-the-top arrogance but it wears thin very quickly.  I’d had enough after 10 minutes.  Others may not even last that long.