"Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" is every bit as dumb as the dumbest of this year's movies especially the current summer fare of dim-witted comedies and dumbbell action movies.
However, the difference between those and "Talladega Nights" is that this comedy is meant to be dumb. It's all about being silly and getting laughs.
This one may not be as gut-busting funny as "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy," which came from the same team, but it does have its share of laugh-out-loud moments questionable as some of them may be.
The title character, Ricky Bobby (Will Ferrell), may have two first names, but he's a born race-car driver. In fact, he was born in the back seat of a speeding car.
And he's been sitting on top of the NASCAR throne for quite a while, even though he has little regard for friends and family especially his fellow racer and supposed best friend, Cal Naughton Jr. (John C. Reilly).
Ricky's about to have a hard fall, though. A cocky European driver named Jean Girard (Sacha Baron Cohen) is providing a serious challenge. And a fiery crash further destroys Ricky's self-confidence.
So perhaps it's fortunate that Ricky's long-lost, failed-driver father (Gary Cole) has turned up after several years and is now taking an interest in his son's career.
Co-screenwriter/director Adam McKay has picked up a few new tricks, as witnessed by his ace staging of the race scenes. He does still linger too long after some punch lines, though, and there's a little comic flab here and there.
And admittedly, your enjoyment of the movie does depend on your tolerance for Ferrell's clownish personality. But it's hard not to be amused by the scene-stealing supporting cast. Reilly and Cohen (whose character sounds like a marble-mouthed Inspector Clouseau) may get the biggest laughs, but Cole, Michael Clarke Duncan and Amy Adams get their moments to shine as well.
"Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" is rated PG-13 for crude humor (including sexual references, suggestive talk and other sexual material), violence (vehicular mayhem and an animal mauling), scattered profanity, drug content (mostly references), and brief sex. Running time: 108 minutes.