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PCR # 332  (Vol. 7, No. 31)  This edition is for the week of July 31--August 6, 2006.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Talladega Nights:
The Ballad of Ricky Bobby"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith
Three and a half stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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Fidel Castro's Days Numbered?  by Nolan B. Canova
"Fahrenheit 9/11", Revisited  by Nolan B. Canova
"Talladega Nights"  by Mike Smith
Is It Worth It?  by Mark Terry
I'm Back...."Superman Returns"....Oprah Runs The GOP....PJ "King Kong" Director's Cut  by Matt Drinnenberg
Wacky Mel....Movie Notes....The Countdown Begins....Never Heard of Him....My Favorite Films, Part 31: "The Deep"  by Mike Smith
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Starring: Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Gary Cole and Sacha Baron Cohen
Directed by: Adam McKay
Rated: PG 13
Running Time: 1 hour 47 mins

With the long, hot summer of 2006 heading towards the finish line, it's nice to know that it will end with a winner of a movie. Not only a winner but easily the funniest film I've seen this year. And I don't even watch NASCAR!

Born in the backseat of his father's stock car, Ricky Bobby (Ferrell) has one dream -- to go fast! And in a town where the main speaker at career day is the manager of the local Waffle House, there really isn't much else to do. Working with his life long friend, Cal (Reilly), on the pit crew of an inspired driver, Ricky gets his chance to drive and soon becomes the hero of race fans every where. Whether he's enjoying dinner at home with his trophy wife and sons (who he's named Walker and Texas Ranger) or giving an interview, making sure he delivers a quick copyright message in the middle, Ricky lives the glamorous life. But when he is challenged by a French Formula One racer (Cohen) the true race begins.

Will Ferrell has been busy these past few years. Did a movie with Woody Allen. Showed up in a couple of movies with your pal Vince Vaughn. Heck, he even held his own with Nathan Lane in a musical. But Ferrell is at his best when he plays the guy who doesn't really get it. Like Ron Burgundy, Buddy the Elf or Frank the Tank, Ricky Bobby is a man who lives his life with a child like quality that is both endearing and hilarious. In "Talladega Nights," Ferrell is backed by a great pit crew of actors. Reilly is perfect as Cal, the life long friend and racing teammate who doesn't mind finishing second. Molly Shannon, Andy Richter and David Koechner (Champ in "Anchorman") keep the laughs coming as well. But it is Cohen, probably best known here for his work on "Da Ali G Show," that almost takes the checkered flag from Ferrell here. As the snooty Frenchman who spends the day before a race quietly sipping tea with Elvis Costello and Mos Def, Cohen makes what could have been a one note performance hilarious. Also, if I can change the subject here for a moment, if they ever do a film biography about the late, great frontman for Queen, Freddie Mercury, I could easily see Cohen in the role. But I digress.

A film that will keep you laughing from beginning to end (including the credits), "Talladega Nights" is the most fun you can have this summer at 200 miles per hour! On a scale of zero to four stars, I give "Talladega Nights"  Three and a half stars

This week's movie review of "Talladega Nights" is ©2006 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2006, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2006 by Nolan B. Canova.