Summertime is rerun time, USA. This review originally appeared in different form in January of 2007.
Yes, the new year begins in typical fashion. While you were watching Volver (or maybe Pan's Labyrinth) without subtitles and taking notes in Spanish, I was watching Talladega Nights. And, yes, I laughed. Quite a bit, in fact. When it comes to movies, I have no taste and no shame.
I'm not a big Will Farrell fan, and in fact I thought his cameo really brought down The Wedding Crashers. I've never seen Elf. (Update: Now I have.) I did like his George Bush impression, though, and I liked parts of Anchorman: the Legend of Ron Burgundy. And I liked Talladega Nights, too, in spite of the fact that none of the movie takes place at night. Maybe somebody just liked the title.
I figure about half this movie must have been improvised, but that's fine. Farrell, John C. Riley, and Sacha Baron Cohen are good at that sort of thing. There are no real characters, just caricatures, with Cohen's flamboyantly gay NASCAR driver leading the way. The story is the typical bio-pic arc, with the rise, the fall, and the return to glory, but it's just there to hang some outrageous gags on. I didn't care. I still thought it was funny. Sometime when you're in a goofy mood, check it out.