Talledega Nights by Scottrenkes


									FRIDAY, AUGUST 4, 2006                                                                                                                                                                                            LMT ¿QUE PASA? | 9

 ‘Talladega Nights’ mimics ‘Anchorman,’ goes nowhere
           By CHRISTY LEMIRE                                                                                                                                                                       After the premise is established,
            ASSOCIATED PRESS                                                                                                                                                                    though, “Talladega Nights” ... well, it
                                                                                                                                                                                                would be too easy to say it runs out
        icky Bobby goes straight,

                                                                                                                                                                                                of gas. But that’s what happens.
        then he turns left. Then he                                                                                                                                                             Ferrell’s Ricky Bobby act, which
        goes straight, then he turns                                                                                                                                                            was so exciting off the top, grows
left again. Around and around, over                                                                                                                                                             old because there is simply no
and over.                                                                                                                                                                                       depth or nuance to this character.
    Such is life in NASCAR, but it’s                                                                                                                                                            Then once his wife coldly leaves
also true of the auto racing comedy                                                                                                                                                             him, a new love interest (the
                                                                                                                                                                                                adorable Amy Adams from
              REVIEW                                                                                                                                                                            “Junebug”) comes out of nowhere
                                                                                                                                                                                                and feels unfounded.
“Talladega Nights: The Ballad of                                                                                                                                                                   Worst of all, “Talladega Nights”
Ricky Bobby.” Like the sport it                                                                                                                                                                 just stops being funny, and resem-
spoofs, the movie has its thrilling                                                                                                                                                             bles one of those “Saturday Night
moments but mostly feels repetitive                                                                                                                                                             Live” sketches that’s been agoniz-
— it’s constantly moving but never                                                                                                                                                              ingly stretched out from a few min-
really goes anywhere.                                                                                                                      Photo by Suzanne Hanover/SMPSP | Columbia Pictures   utes to a feature-length film — like
   It’s also just too much like            Will Ferrell (left) and Leslie Bibb star in Columbia Pictures’ comedy “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.”                                 “A Night at the Roxbury,” for exam-
“Anchorman: The Legend of Ron                                                                                                                                                                   ple.
Burgundy” — or at least it’s trying to     ingly familiar to Southerners;                  he’s in, even in a manic comedy like           ing the crass British rapper Ali G                       “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of
be, but comes up short.                    everyone else will just feel smugly             this.                                          and Borat, the overzealous TV                         Ricky Bobby,” a Columbia Pictures
   Same star (Will Ferrell), same          superior.)                                         Ricky has it all — the generically          reporter from Kazakhstan: by                          release, is rated PG-13 for crude and
director (Adam McKay), same writ-              Ricky owes much of his success              hot, blond wife (Leslie Bibb), the             immersing himself completely in it                    sexual humor, language, drug refer-
ers (Ferrell and McKay again).             to his teammate and best friend                 ostentatiously huge house (with                and making you believe you’re                         ences and brief comic violence.
Same basic character (a fervently          since childhood, Cal Naughton                   oversized pickup trucks parked                 watching a fully realized, screwed-                   Running time: 97 minutes. Two
clueless doofus who’s unflappably          (John C. Reilly, revisiting his police          outside), even a couple of kids (with          up human being.                                       stars out of four.
confident in his abilities), same plot     officer mustache from “Magnolia”),              awesomely inspired first names).
(he’s at the top of his game but           who always agrees to finish the race               But all that becomes jeopardized
experiences a downfall at the hands        in second place. There’s something              when a driver from the Formula One
of a new rival), same outcome (he          sweetly delicate and sad about the              circuit bursts onto the NASCAR
returns to the top of his game hav-        way Cal simultaneously worships                 scene. Sacha Baron Cohen plays the
ing gained perhaps a smidgen of            and resents Ricky; that’s no sur-               role of the flamboyantly French Jean
humility, if that).                        prise, though, since Reilly brings              Girard the same way he inhabits his
   “Anchorman” was dead-on,                complexity to every supporting role             own characters he’s created, includ-
though, and it was novel. Ferrell’s
shtick can be hilarious — he’s fear-
less as always, unpredictable, and he
just seems so intensely committed
to making you believe that Ricky
Bobby totally believes in himself,
you can practically feel him vibrat-
ing with energy through the screen.
   The movie itself, though, isn’t
nearly so focused.
   It begins with Ricky realizing at
a young age that he wants to go fast
like his car-racing daddy, then
quickly finds him as an adult
(though not a grown-up) at the top
of the NASCAR heap. Jane Lynch
plays his tough-love mama, with
Gary Cole as the absent, alcoholic
father whose love and approval
Ricky still seeks. (Yes, all the cliches
are in order. There are even refer-
ences to the Waffle House and
Applebee’s, which should be amus-

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