Idol Chatter

Simply put, Will Ferrell is a funny man. And “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” is just what we need right now, among all of the extremely-not-funny things going on in the world.

A lot of us like to consider ourselves film connoisseurs, choosy and particular about what we spend our time and money watching. “Talladega Nights” doesn’t appeal to the picky film fan in any of us–and that’s where the beauty lies. Like “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” “Talladega Nights” finds Ferrell poking fun at the white American male, and it’s something we can all get a kick out of. Getting through the product placement in the movie is a little tough, but you couldn’t have a movie based around NASCAR racing without it. The laugh aspects of the film are black and white–you find yourself either laughing out loud or shaking your head and asking the person next to you, “What?!” For example, Ricky Bobby says grace to “Baby Jesus,” instead of “the grownup Jesus, with a beard.” It’s funny–the first time around–but the jokes grows a little stale after a few minutes. This seems to be the case several times throughout the film.

The movie is an obvious poke at the stereotype of the white Southern man–the NASCAR-loving, trophy-wife toting, American flag-waving hick. Being from the South and knowing people who have been to the Talladega Superspeedway, I wondered, as I watched the movie, if racing fans would be offended by this portrayal, especially by the characters consistently making fun of Jesus. As someone who is super-sensitive to stereotypes of my heritage, I didn’t find myself offended at all by the actors’ accents or lifestyles. This is part of Ferrell’s genius–you find yourself enjoying his characters because he looks as if he’s having such a good time. But then again, I’m not a white male from the Deep South who loves to drive.

The film is probably the most quotable of the summer, if you can remember anything. It’s packed with so many short, sharp lines–and stepping out of the theater, you try to remember one, verbatim, but they all get mixed together. I don’t know if “Talladega Nights” is the best Will Ferrell movie yet. I saw it twice, and naturally it wasn’t as funny the second time around, but “Talladega Nights” is still the funniest movie I’ve seen in quite a while–not smart, indie comedy, just simple, ridiculous, laugh-out-loud fun. If laughter really is good for the soul, then I think it’s safe to say Ricky Bobby is, too.

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