Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby


I believe I really tried to dislike this, but it kept sneaking up on me and hitting me on the funnybone, hard. I don’t know if this is where Will Ferrell came up with the crude, obnoxious, gross, good-old-boy that you know you should hate but end up kind of liking, the character he basically repeated in Blades of Glory, but it works well here. This is a savage satirical attack on rednecks, on the South, on NASCAR … but so are Jeff Foxworthy’s “you might be a redneck” jokes, and rednecks are the ones who laugh the loudest. Rednecks may be the only minority group who don’t get offended by a putdown or a stereotype, they glory in it, and much as I hate to do it, I have to respect them for that. What if all minorities reacted like that? Refused to take offense? There is a line, of course, and one has to know it’s all in fun, but it should be easy to tell minority hatred from minority kidding around. Do you find Pollack jokes or dumb blonde jokes offensive? I don’t, nor jokes about white Anglo males. Why can’t we all just lighten up? But we’ve gone so far in the other direction that it’s no longer possible to even quote someone who uses … gasp! … the N-word. It rankles me every time I even hear that pussy-footed (can I say that without offending women, or amputees?) circumlocution. The word is nigger. Get over it.
Got off on a rant there. I laughed at this movie. My favorite scene comes fairly early, when Bobby and his family are at the table and he’s offering a prayer to the Baby Jesus, among many other howlers. Somebody calls him on it, and they get to debating the nature of Jesus, and Bobby says he prefers the Christmas Jesus in a manger, and he can pray to any damn Jesus he wants to. And it goes on from there. And there are many funny scenes afterward. If you like a comedy that pokes fun at everything in sight, this is it.