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.