This film's a gas

Will Ferrell steps into the winner's circle with 'Talladega Nights'

review B+


Will Ferrell does chicken-fried comedy right: with crackpot discipline and stripped-to-the-beer-belly courage. In the title role of Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Ferrell sustains the look of a cheerful -- sometimes dazed -- down-home monomaniac for nearly the entire movie.

A good ole boy conceived in a steakhouse restroom and born in a speeding car that stopped short so the momentum would make him pop right out, Ricky Bobby has always had two dreams: to drive fast and to please his elusive stock-car racing daddy. That prodigal father, Reese Bobby (Gary Cole), visited him just once, on his grade-school's Career Day, and left him with a motto: "If you ain't first, you're last."

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (Universal) Starring Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Sacha Baron Cohen. Directed by Adam McKay. Rated PG-13. Time 105 minutes.

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