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Saturday, August 26, 2006

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby


Ricky Bobby - Will Ferrell
Cal Naughton, Jr - John C. Reilly
Jean Girard - Sacha Baron Cohen
Reese Bobby - Gary Cole
Lucius Washington - Michael Clarke Duncan
Carley Bobby - Leslie Bibb
Lucy Bobby - Jane Lynch
Susan - Amy Adams
Gregory - Andy Richter
Mrs. Dennit - Molly Shannon

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Synopsis: NASCAR stock car racing sensation Ricky Bobby (Will Ferrell) is a national hero because of his "win at all costs" approach. He and his loyal racing partner, childhood friend Cal Naughton Jr. (John C. Reilly), are a fearless duo -- "Shake" and "Bake" by their fans for their ability to finish so many races in the #1 and #2 positions, with Cal always in second place. When flamboyant French Formula One driver Jean Girard (Sacha Baron Cohen) challenges "Shake" and "Bake" 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.

Review: In short this film was wonderful mindless FUN. Do not go into the film expecting much of a plot as it is completely cookie-cutter (i.e. kid grows up to race car, man is top driver in the world and then it all comes crumbling down and he learns who he really is, and then truly wins..blah blah blah). This film is merely a platform for Will Ferrell’s brand of humor and pokes great fun at the NASCAR scene and America ’s fascination with it. Just sit back, turn your brain off, and enjoy Ferrell doing what he does best..and that is make his audience laugh…A LOT.

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While watching it I couldn’t help but think of some of the early Adam Sandler films like “Billy Madison” and “Happy Gilmore” (two of my personal comedic favs) in some of the bizarre one-liners and odd characters that come out of nowhere.

Standout performances abound with Gary Cole (?) as Ricky Bobby’s degenerate pothead father and Ricky’s two kids, Walker and Texas Ranger. His buddy Cal (played by John C Reilly) is a great “Robin” to Will ’s “Batman” and has some great lines throughout the film, especially when telling Ricky about some things he did while Ricky is in a self-induced coma after his “accident.”

Ferrell seems to be channeling Burt Reynolds from “Cannonball Run” along with his impersonation of George W Bush from SNL and it comes off perfectly.


*Review by "Moriarty" , Ain't It Cool News


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* Reviews posted here do not necessarily reflect the views of The Wizard of 'OZ'

* Reviewers do not necessarily endorse®

Friday, August 25, 2006

How To Eat Fried Worms

Starring: Hallie Kate Eisenberg, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Luke Benward, Tom Cavanagh

How To Eat Fried Worms
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Synopsis: Based on the hugely popular Thomas Rockwell book, HOW TO EAT FRIED WORMS brings the classic story of a boy whose bravado lands him in a difficult predicament. The film revolves around 11-year-old Billy, who inadvertently challenges the school bully on his first day at a new school. In order to save face and earn the respect of his new classmates, Billy agrees to a bet that calls for him to eat 10 worms in one day. As the pressure mounts, Billy must summon all his strength to keep his younger brother from blabbing, his weak stomach from betraying him, and his big mouth from getting him in even more trouble.

Review: If your stomach doesn't churn a bit after hearing the title of the children's movie "How to Eat Fried Worms," the picture itself may finish the job.

Indeed, we watch the film's main character, 11-year-old Billy Forrester (Luke Benward), devour worm after worm--fried, grilled, juiced or served up raw. This is a picture in which the barf scenes standard in the usual crude youth comedies aren't gratuitous. They're logical climaxes.

How To Eat Fried Worms
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Writer-director Bob Dolman's "How to Eat Fried Worms" is based on a 1973 book regarded as -- amazingly -- a modern children's classic, written by Thomas Rockwell, the son of beloved Americana painter Norman Rockwell. The original book was simpler and a shade more palatable. There, the boy protagonist has to eat 15 worms in 15 days; in the movie, Billy has to scarf down 10 in a single day.

The reason for this gastronomic orgy is that old "Rebel Without a Cause" plot standby: the new kid in school trying to stand up to the local bully clique. Here, Billy has moved to a new suburban town with parents Mitch (Tom Cavanagh) and Helen (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) and his obnoxious little brother Woody (Ty Panitz). Billy runs afoul of 5th grade tyrant Joe Guire (Adam Hicks) on his first day, when Joe and his minions plant worms in Billy's lunchbox.


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*Review by By Michael Wilmington, Tribune movie critic


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