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Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby Synopsis
The film tells the story of NASCAR stock car racing sensation Ricky Bobby (Will Ferrell) whose "win at all costs" approach has made him a national hero. He and his loyal racing partner, childhood friend Cal Naughton Jr. (John C. Reilly), are a fearless duo -- dubbed "Thunder" and "Lightning" by their fans for their ability to finish so many races in the #1 and #2 positions, with Cal always in second place. When a flamboyant French Formula One driver, Jean Girard (Sacha Baron Cohen), challenges the "Thunder" and "Lightning" for the supremacy of NASCAR, Ricky Bobby must face his own demons and fight Girard for the right to be known as racing's top driver.
NASCAR is hot (I’m told), so it’s no surprise that Hollywood is eager to make movies about it. Talladega Nights is the second racing movie of summer 2006. The first, Cars, has already solidified itself as a massive box office success, and with racing as a theme there’s good reason to think Talladega should also do well.
What’s most intriguing about the film though isn’t its redneck theme, but the kind of talent brought to bear in making it. This isn’t Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector, it’s made by people with genuine ability. Will Ferrell not only stars in the film, but he co-wrote it with Talladega Night’s director Adam McKay. McKay is a former SNL writer, and he’s also credited with the script for Ferrell’s last hit, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.
Will is actually in a bit of a dry spell. Since Anchorman back in 2004 he’s starred in a string of misses. His best recent work has been playing second banana in movies like The Producers, or doing cameo roles in movies like Wedding Crashers. Simply put, Will could probably use a hit, otherwise he’s going to lose his built in Will Ferrell audience. You can’t live off Frank the Tank t-shirt sales forever. But as he did for Anchorman Will has taken back more of the control on this one, and returned to working with McKay, who had done well for him in the past. Talladega’s redneck mockery should be an audience slam dunk for the former Rob Burgundy.