Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)

talladega nights the ballad of ricky bobby poster 2006 movie
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Strong visuals and great characters

Story has too much going on

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Talladega Nights:  The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

Studio:  Relativity Media

Genre(s):  Comedy/Sports

Release Date(s):  August 4, 2006

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


“If you’re not 1st, you’re last!”

Ricky Bobby (Will Ferrell) was born to go fast.  When he gets his shot, he takes NASCAR by storm through his daring driving and his “Shake ‘N Bake” method with his best friend and fellow driver Cal Naughton, Jr. (John C. Reilly).  When his team owner Larry Dennit, Jr. (Greg Germann) brings in new blood in a French driver named Jean Girard (Sacha Baron Cohen), Ricky finds himself involved in a horrible wreck which shatters his ability to drive.  Now with the help of his mother (Jane Lynch), his father (Gary Cole), and his former assistant Susan (Amy Adams), Ricky Bobby must reclaim his ability to race and take the checkered flag at Talladega.


“Shake ‘N Bake!”

Directed by Adam McKay, Talladega Nights:  The Ballad of Ricky Bobby is a sports spoof movie set in the world of NASCAR.  The movie received positive reviews and big box-office draw.  The movie has grown to have a cult following much like Ferrell’s other movies like Anchorman and Blades of Glory.

I enjoy Talladega Nights:  The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.  The movie (like many of Ferrell’s films) is rather a dumb comedy with writing that is self-aware.  Pushed by the sheer honesty of Ferrell and Reilly, Talladega Nights:  The Ballad of Ricky Bobby is worth seeking out.


“I got it at Target”

The story of Talledaga Nights is probably the worst aspect of the film.  The movie tries to cram way too much stuff into its plot.  It focus on the competition with Girard, dealing with the wreck, the friendship with Naughton, Jr., his relationship with Susan, and Ricky’s desire to earn his father’s love.  If there had been a focus on two of these aspects, it would have been a stronger film.  Instead you get a lot of half-baked ideas (the relationship with Amy Adams being the weakest) that could have been better served with a paring down of the script.

Ferrell and Reilly make a good team.  They play dumb guys great (see Step Brothers for another example).  The jump out star of the film however is Sacha Baron Cohen.  The Ali G star made his big American splash here by reaching a bigger audience and steals most of his scenes as the gay French driver.  The movie is loaded with other stars including Michael Clarke Duncan, Leslie Bibb, Gary Cole, Jane Lynch, Amy Adams, Mos Def, Elvis Costello, Andy Richter, Pat Hingle, and Molly Shannon and some real NASCAR celebrities with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Jamie McMurray.


Cue the Chariots of Fire music!

Visually the movie is quite strong as well.  Many of the racing shots look great and it does help that the movie was shot during NASCAR races.  The races and the wrecks often feel real, and surprisingly don’t really look down upon the fans directly (indirectly, you’d have to question someone who followed Ricky Bobby…though I’m sure he’d be popular).

Talladega Nights:  The Balled of Ricky Bobby is one of Ferrell’s better comedies.  The movie is loaded with great one liners like “Shake ‘N Bake” and “if you’re not #1 you’re last”.  If you are a fan of dumb comedies, check out this one…Baby Jesus will thank you!

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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