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Lap after lap of laughs

Andrew HarleySpecial to the Post Independent

For me, the character Ricky Bobby is a NASCAR variation of George W. Bush. From the moment Will Ferrell began speaking, the image revisited my mind of his obscure performance hidden within the DVD extras of “Rock Against Bush, Vol. 2.”Ferrell’s 10 minutes of improv of the president at his Texas ranch on the DVD sent me into side-splitting laughter for its uncanny semblance of the man and his public buffoonery, and I spent the whole film unable to get the similarities (accent, persona) from the skit out of my mind.As for the actual film: It was hilarious. Ferrell was joined by comedy magnates Sacha Baron Cohen (“Ali G”), as a gay French antagonist by the name of Jean Girard, and Cal Naughton Jr. (John C. Reilly) as Bobby’s raunchy best friend. They took a plot and improvised the majority of the scenes from the script Ferrell co-wrote with director Adam McKay (they also co-wrote “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy” together) into a consistently funny flick.The structure of the film’s humor operated in a build-and-release format: Each scene began with mild humor and the actors would take the scene’s driving concept over the top without fail, giving the audience plenty to laugh at.From the beginning of the film when Bobby’s father tells him if he’s not No. 1, he’s last place, Bobby’s resolve grows his ego to superhuman proportions. He’s a maniac on the racetrack, who attempts the impossible until it crushes him into crashing one too many times.When Bobby hits his lowest – divorce, minimum wage; he becomes a general laughing stock – his deadbeat dad re-enters the movie with a cougar and “a bunch of stinky weed” to help him overcome his fears and to teach him how to drive fast again.While Bobby rebuilds his courage and abilities, Naughton becomes a successful racer and Girard claims the throne as the best in the world.The final race in the film comes down to Bobby and Girard with a well-timed twist on the last lap. And, just after the two cross the finish line, a very rare, and quasi-revolutionary moment occurs in big-dollar, mainstream American cinema. I’m typing this outside and there’s a bee on my bare leg, so you’ll either have to go see the film and bear all of the naughty, sometimes offensive humor, or ask someone else about what I’m talking about. I’ll just say that if the character actually was meant to be George Bush, he ends the movie more tolerant toward human beings who lead alternative lifestyles and OK with not being the No. 1 dominating force all the time.Anyway, if you don’t mind a bunch of jokes about “sweet baby Jesus” being a badger or a ninja, and if you enjoy dialogue like “I’m as hard as a diamond in an ice storm,” then you’ll love “Talladega Nights.”


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