Sunday, December 31, 2006

Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby

You know a film that has become a huge hit because of it's irreverent and edgy humor has jumped the shark when portions of it are used in a Sunday morning church sermon.

And that very thing happened, last week, at the church I attend. The minister--to a chorus of giggles and guffaws--successfully used a scene from Ricky Bobby to illustrate a point he was making about how some Christians pick and choose how to view Jesus.

In one of the funniest scenes in the movie, Ricky Bobby says a prayer over a semi-formal meal, and addresses it to "Dear sweet baby Jesus." When his shrew-like yet beautiful-on-the-outside wife chastises him for praying to a baby rather than the grown-up Jesus, Ricky Bobby explains the innocent baby image is his favorite way to view Christ, and he will pray to whatever version of The Messiah he wants.

It's a very funny scene. Maybe the funniest in the movie. The problem for me is, it happens too early in the film. The rest of Talladega Nights, for me at least, was a disappointment.

Will Ferrell is consistently funny, and he is terrific in this role. John C. Reilly is great in the supporting role of best friend Cal Naughton, Jr. (Isn't that a great NASCAR name?) And Gary Cole's character, Reese Cole, gets too little screen time. His character was complex and darkly funny.

But, the film fell flat for me after the first hour. I thought it dragged on too long, had too many sub-plots and relied too heavily on redneck-poking for jokes.
My expectations for this movie may have been influenced by the "Oh, my gawd...have you seen Ricky Bobby yet!?!" buzz about the flick.

I expected it would knock my socks off. But, as much as I like Ferrell's comedies, I thought Talladega Nights was only average.


Kelly said...

I thought the movie was hilarious. We watched it for the first time on the plane back from California. I could actually hear Damon laughing out loud above the blaring ear phones and the normal plane noises.

As our family normally does, we start quoting the movie all the time. I'm just glad Drew is quoting another movie other than Napolean Dynamite!

Jackie Lantern said...

You nailed it! It was funny for about twenty minutes......then nothing. Hell, I fell asleep before it was over, and I never sleep during movies. Your also right about the redneck thing. I had a hard time accepting it as an homage, and instead it felt pretty mean spirited to me.

Happy Early New Year Film Geek!

The Film Geek said...

Hey Kelly: I'd find it funnier on a 6 hour plane ride, too! Happy 2007, by the way. I hope you folks have a happy, fun-filled 2007.

Hiya Jackie: The redneck thing bugged me a lot, and I kept worrying I was being too sensitive. But you're right, it sure didn't feel like an homage. And, I know so many people who felt that it was...Happy New Year to you, too. I hope 2007 brings you lots of good bloggin'!

Anonymous said...

You must admit, Film Geek, that the two kids were the best part of the movie.

The Film Geek said...

That is true, Anonymous. In fact, the DVD extras that feature the kids were some of the funniest things on the disc.