Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

Posted on August 2, 2006 at 2:18 pm

C
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, language, drug references and brief comic violence.
Profanity: Very crude and vulgar language for PG-13
Alcohol/ Drugs: Drinking, character abuses drugs and alcohol
Violence/ Scariness: Comic peril and violence, no one hurt
Diversity Issues: A strength of the movie is its portrayal of gay characters, some misogynistic portrayal of female characters
Date Released to Theaters: 2006
Date Released to DVD: 2006
Amazon.com ASIN: B000J4P9P8

When we’ve seen Will Ferrell run around naked, how much fun is it to see him run around in his underpants?

The disappointment of this movie is not that we don’t see enough of Will Ferrell. It’s disappointing because what we do see, we’ve seen before, and better.


Ferrell’s appeal comes from his whole-hearted cluelessness, but that needs to be placed in the context of some kind of legitimate, grown-up world. It doesn’t have to be complicated or explained in much detail, but there has to be some kind of clash. The rumor is that this movie was greenlighted based on four words: “Will Ferrell does NASCAR.” But the movie gives us no sense of NASCAR’s conventions or why it is meaningful. It isn’t that NASCAR is portrayed as foolish; it isn’t really portrayed at all. The setting might just as well be the soap box derby.

Ferrell looks tired and uninvolved and too old for this kind of role. His best friend is played by the reliable John C. Reilly but he has nothing to do but be a second Will Ferrell. When a movie relies on kids using bad language for humor, it’s running out of steam.


Ferrell plays Ricky Bobby, born in a racing car and shortly after abandoned by his substance-abusing ne’er-do-well father. These become the two forces in his life — the love of driving very fast and the need to win his father’s love and respect. He becomes a champion and then loses everything and has to find a way to win again and learn what winning really means.


All of this is just an excuse for a bunch of skits. There are some funny moments, but much of it feels tired. If this movie was in a NASCAR race, it would still be on the track long after all the other cars were back home for the night.


Parents should know that this movie has very explicit sexual references and very vulgar language for a PG-13. There are same-sex kisses. Children use extremely crude language and get away with it for most of the film. A character gives the finger. There’s a joke about feminine products and many references to genitals. Characters commit adultery. Some viewers will be offended by the way the characters talk about Jesus. Some may also be disturbed by the portrayal of the break-up of a marriage and the former spouses becoming involved with other people. A character abuses alcohol and drugs and children and adults joke about drugs. There is some comic violence, including a graphic depiction of a knife deeply embedded in a leg, and slapping children, but no one is hurt. The portrayal of the female characters is crass and somewhat misogynistic, even for a crude comedy. A strength of the movie is the portrayal of a married gay couple, but their behavior is as silly as everyone else’s.


Families who see this movie should talk about Ricky Bobby’s belief that no one would love him unless he was a winner.


Families who enjoy this film will also enjoy Elf and Old School (mature material).

Related Tags:

 

Action/Adventure Comedy Movies Sports

4 Replies to “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby”

  1. Dude this movie is amazing I understand theater and this movie is a teenagers dream funny movie because of all the hilarious stuff that happens in it! Also they named a drug after it’s main character I mean how much greater do u have to be! This movie is not good if u are a mother who had very small children. But I’m 100% certain that it isn’t anything new to most normal thirteen year olds! I knew as a thirteen year old that it was a movie and that it is just not something to act like a reasonable person in a comedy movie other wise it wouldn’t be funny! So yea it’s crude humor but that is what it’s age group is portrayed to this movie is not for bleeding hearts as yourself who probably home schools there children and then shelters what they hear, see and do. I accept your valid comment on the movie I just do not agree but then again I am an 18 year old man who this movie was directed to. So I accept your valid argument I just do not agree I say yet this movie is rated for beginning teenagers it should be put for smaller children because of it’s comedy I understand the whole I don’t want my child seeing that smut argument but if your child goes to a public or even private I am almost certain that they have seen worse and said worse! So accept what today’s child had learned and laugh at it because you p3.cannot change everyone and what they deem acceptable for their children! So

  2. As I reside things in this world are actually like that and NASCAR really does work like that with the slingshot. I don’t kno about u but NASCAR is not a very difficult sport for the fans and efficanatos to understand while someone is intoxicated. Espically for the illegal activity that occured to start the sport because even I can turn only left while going 250, people only really watch for the horrific crashes and the load roar, its what attracts those kind of people! I grew up in Texas so I kno about rednecks and beer and other really dumb fun stuff

  3. I’m glad you like the movie, Paul! But I think if you read the review again you will see we agree. We both thought it was acceptable for 14-and up. And we both thought that it was not great but had some funny moments.
    One suggestion — in the future, try to remember that insult is not argument. It undermines whatever point you are trying to make. And a little attention to grammar and spelling helps you come across as confident and capable.
    Thanks for writing, and I’d love to hear from you any time you want to let me know what you think of the movies you see.

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