9911 Seminole Blvd. Seminole, FL 33772       Ph. 727-397-5563   View TBN's FREE e-Edition today!  
Click here to learn more
Movie News & Reviews Facebook Twitter
Reel Time
Pit crew jumpstarts Ferrell’s ‘Talladega Nights’
Article published on
  Print E-Mail
Will Ferrell, left, and John C. Reilly.
Chevy Chase. Eddie Murphy. Mike Myers. Adam Sandler. Like Will Ferrell, they honed their skills on “Saturday Night Live.” Like Ferrell, they eventually bid farewell to the late night skit comedy show to seek greater prominence among the Hollywood elite making big screen comedies.

Some succeeded, some failed. With “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” Ferrell proves his career is on the road to enduring success.

To date, Ferrell’s films have ranged from fair to fine to first-rate. While “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” fails to induce the side-splitting hilarity of 2004’s “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” it outshines its predecessor in terms of developing a coherent storyline.

Ferrell portrays NASCAR luminary Ricky Bobby, a dim racecar driver born with a need for speed. Unlike “Anchorman” which

sardonically and mercilessly jabbed at television news media, “Talladega” has no intention of belittling NASCAR fans by propping up overblown stereotypes. Instead, Ferrell – who co-wrote the screenplay – chose to gently parody the racing subculture with a conspicuous focus on the macho mentality of the drivers.

As with any movie featuring an SNL alumnus, the first fear is that the film will be nothing more than a protracted skit that would have been better suited to the small screen. One discerning factor identifies such cinematic bombs from the onset: They tend to showcase a single well-developed star surrounded by uninteresting, two-dimensional supporting characters. Fortunately, “Talladega,” features a strong cast of players who not only contribute to the movie’s best moments – they are singularly responsible for many of them.

First and foremost, John C. Reilly plays Bobby’s equally dense best friend and fellow racer Cal Naughton Jr. Bobby takes the friendship for granted, exploiting his teammate without ever offering him a moment in the limelight. Reilly depicts his character’s growing dissatisfaction with restless subtlety making the eventual reversal of fortune all the more uproarious.

Bobby’s father Reese (Gary Cole), long absent from his son’s life, returns when the dethroned driver needs inspiration. Though limited in screen time, Cole nails every one of his punch lines and manages to make likable this irresponsible, truant parent role that in other hands may have seemed offensive.

Bobby’s nemesis takes the form of French, Camus-reading Formula One racer Jean Girard, played by Sacha Baron Cohen. The overcooked accent alone makes this character an asset to the production.

Rounding out the cast are heavy hitters including Michael Clarke Duncan as Lucius Washington, Jane Lynch as Bobby’s mother, Leslie Bibb as Carley Bobby, Amy Adams as Susan and another former SNL cast member, Molly Shannon as Mrs. Dennit. It’s the entire troupe that elevates this movie from mediocrity to distinction.

When Ferrell’s larger-than-life comedic abilities fall short, the ensemble cast salvages the scene. “Talladega Nights” shines brightest during extended group scenes, such as the lengthy exchange at the dinner table over Bobby’s preference to give thanks to baby Jesus instead of the grownup Jesus. Another example takes place as Bobby’s friends try to convince him he’s not paralyzed and culminates in a knife-in-the-leg gag that pays silent homage to “Young Frankenstein.”

“Talladega Nights” may not be what audiences expect from the zany Ferrell who made theaters roar with laughter as Ron Burgundy or as Buddy in “Elf,” or even as Mugatu in “Zoolander.” Still, the movie wins over viewers with smart humor, benign parody and an endearing storyline skillfully executed by an excellent cast.
Article published on
Copyright © Tampa Bay Newspapers: All rights reserved.
Printable Version E-mail article
Community Focus Online
Featured Print Advertisers
Five Fish Boutique
735 Dodecanese Blvd, Suite 1, Tarpon Springs
(727) 485-8660

Web site        View Ad
Omega Gamma Delta Fraternity
Looking for Alumni
Contact Mark Quering
Beta Chi 1972

Web site        View Ad
Florida Center for Back & Neck Pain
Dr. Greg Hollstrom
11444 Seminole Blvd.
(727) 393-6100

Web site        View Ad
Tarpon Springs Recreation Division
Zombie Run, 10/17
Coastal Cleanup, 10/7
Trunk or Treat, 10/31

Web site        View Ad
Flooring America
9012 Seminole Blvd., Seminole
(727) 397-5509
100 Patricia Ave., Dunedin
(727) 733-1356

Web site        View Ad
Oakhurst & East Bay Medical
13020 Park Blvd., Seminole
(727) 393-3404
3800 East Bay Dr., Largo
(727) 539-0505

Web site        View Ad
Bell Hearing Instruments, Inc.
801 West Bay Dr., Suite 405, Largo (727) 585-2675
Factory Location
700 Stevens Ave., Oldsmar (813) 814-2355

Web site        View Ad
Abbey Carpet & Floor of Largo
13120 66th St. N.
(727) 524-1445

Web site        View Ad
Custom Couture of Tarpon Springs
208 East Tarpon Ave., Tarpon Springs
(727) 238-7194

Web site        View Ad
Law Office of Stephen C. Whalen, P.A.
1968 Bayshore Blvd., Dunedin
(727) 726-0439
(727) 409-7347(Cell)

Web site        View Ad
Senior Health Care Solutions

(866) 633-4427

Web site        View Ad
Tarpon Springs Merchants Association

Oct. 15 - 18

Web site        View Ad
NuSmile Dental
13611 Park Blvd., Suite G
(727) 475-7866

Web site        View Ad
US Ammo Depot
118 E. Tarpon Ave, Suite 208, Tarpon Springs
(727) 940-8636

Web site        View Ad
Tampa Bay Newspapers
Online Advertising
For information, e-mail
Online Services Directory
Tampa Bay Newspapers
9911 Seminole Blvd.,
Seminole, FL 33772
Phone: (727) 397-5563
Fax: (727) 397-5900
Submit News