Favorite Film Friday: Talladega Nights: the Ballad of Ricky Bobby

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby follows hot shot NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby (Will Ferrell) as he and his friend Cal Naughton, Jr. (John C. Reilly)dominate the race car world. After an accident leaves him shaken up, he loses his winning streak and his life devolves as he struggles to regain his old title after being challenged by a talented competitor, Jean Girad (Sacha Baron Cohen).

This movie is definitely silly, but it leans into the silliness so hard that it’s truly hilarious. The entire cast is giving everything they have into an over-the-top setting and situation, and it truly pays off. There are so many quotable lines and funny bits throughout the film that just like the drivers it never slows down. Cohen and Ferrell work off one another expertly. All the other characters are equally over-the-top, including a gold-digging wife, Bobby’s two horrible children, his brutal mom (Jane Lynch), and his deadbeat dad (Gary Cole), and a nerdy but lovable assistant (Amy Adams).

There is a special kind of comedy where silly meets brilliance and it really is all up to the cast. This could have easily turned into a throwaway SNL bit, but with the comedy chops in this cast the jokes never fall flat. A lot of my favorite comedies are Will Ferrell led, and this one fits nicely amongst my other favorite exaggerated comedies like Anchorman and Step Brothers. They’re all silly films, but the kind of silly that can also be smart and endlessly entertaining.

Shake and Bake, baby.

Amy’s Recommendation: 10/10

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