Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

Critics Consensus

Though it occasionally stalls, Talladega Nights' mix of satire, clever gags, and excellent ensemble performances put it squarely in the winner's circle.



Total Count: 186


Audience Score

User Ratings: 554,361
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Movie Info

When America's number one NASCAR speed-demon is issued a direct challenge from a gay, French Formula One racer with a hunger for the top spot and a mean talent for tight-cornering, the race is on to become the number one man in all of NASCAR in a full throttle comedy starring Will Ferrell and directed by Anchorman cohort Adam McKay. Ricky Bobby (Ferrell) is a national hero with a "smokin' hot" trophy wife, pair of borderline-abusively precocious sons, and an endless line of endorsement deals filling his mansion with toys and driveway with sports cars and Hummers. His racing partner and lifelong friend Cal Naughton, Jr. (John C. Reilly), never fails to provide him with a hand on the racetrack, frequently performing their trademark "slingshot" maneuver to shoot Ricky into first place, leaving Cal in second. While the public loves these buddies (popularly known by the meaningless childhood nicknames they find so exceedingly cool: "Shake and Bake"), a wedge comes between the two, as Ricky Bobby's longstanding winning-streak is broken by flamboyand French Formula One driver Jean Girard (Sacha Baron Cohen), robbing Ricky of everything in an instant as the trauma leaves him unable to drive. Ricky's wife takes his fortunes while Cal takes his wife, and now he's back with his mother (Jane Lynch) and long-estranged father (Gary Cole). Things look bad for Ricky, but his father was once a race car driver himself, and now with the help of a training montage, a live cougar, and the courage to drive without his gleaming white Wonder Bread endorsement, Ricky might be ready to face the track again. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi


Will Ferrell
as Ricky Bobby
John C. Reilly
as Cal Naughton Jr.
Sacha Baron Cohen
as Jean Girard
Gary Cole
as Reese Bobby
Michael Clarke Duncan
as Lucius Washington
Leslie Bibb
as Carley Bobby
Amy Adams
as Susan
Jane Lynch
as Lucy Bobby
Andy Richter
as Gregory
Molly Shannon
as Mrs. Dennit
Jake Johnson (IV)
as Ricky (5 years old)
Luke Bigham
as Ricky (10 years old)
Austin Crimm
as Cal (10 years old)
David Koechner
as Herschell
Greg Germann
as Larry Dennit Jr.
Pat Hingle
as Mr. Dennit
Yasiin Bey
as Himself
Jason A. Davis
as Waffle House Manager
Lorrie Bess Crumley
as Schoolteacher
Adam McKay
as Terry Cheveaux
John D. King
as ESPN Reporter
Grayson Russell
as Texas Ranger
Danny Vinson
as Texas Ticket Seller
Sylvia G. Lyerly
as Texas Ticket Seller
Mike Joy
as Himself
Dan Cox
as Bartender
Bob Jenkins
as Himself
Rob Riggle
as Jack Telmont
William Boyer
as Rescue Worker
Rick Benjamin
as Reporter
Matt Day
as Pizza Delivery Boy
Christoph Sanders
as Pizza Delivery Boy
Pete Burris
as Police Officer
Conrad Ricamora
as DMV Officer
Angie Fox
as Waitress
Jim Wise
as Jim Bohampton
Rebecca Koon
as Car Wash Customer
Bill Weber
as Himself
Wally Dellenbach
as Wally Dallenbach
Robert R. Lee
as Talladega Ticket Seller
Matt Coulter
as PA Announcer
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News & Interviews for Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

Critic Reviews for Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

All Critics (186) | Top Critics (47) | Fresh (132) | Rotten (54)

Audience Reviews for Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

  • Jul 17, 2016
    "I wanna go fast." Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby is an outrageous comedy that's full of laughs. The story follows NASCAR's number one driver Ricky Bobby as he rises to the challenge of French Formula One driver Jean Girard to see who's the fastest, but after getting into a wreck Bobby loses his self-confidence and has to get it back in order to return to the track and beat Girard. Starring Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Sacha Baron Cohen, Leslie Bibb, and Gary Cole, the film has an impressive cast that has great chemistry together. And the comedy is hilarious, with a lot of over-the-top humor that works incredibly well (like learning to drive with a cougar in the backseat). Ridiculously funny, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby is a terrifically entertaining film.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Apr 04, 2016
    I can't believe I've never actually reviewed this movie on this site. For the longest time I thought I had. I don't expect this to be a long review, since it is a film I've seen twice, the second time was on Saturday. And, for some reason, I got a real itch to watch this movie again, just to see if it held up as well as I remembered it when I went to see it in the theaters all those years ago. And, surprise surprise, the movie held up quite well considering. Then again, while ten years is a really long time, it's also not really that long. I think the real test will be if this movie holds up in 2026, when it celebrates its 20th anniversary. This really is just several notches below the first Anchorman, not by much, but it is some notches below. With that said, outside of some moments where it slows down, after Ricky Bobby is kicked out NASCAR, this movie is really fucking entertaining. Perhaps the one thing that surprised me the most, upon second viewing, is the fact that the film is actually consistently entertaining. And I say this because movies as heavy on sight gags and slapstick (with some really clever improv'd lines in there) usually are a bit of a mixed bag and they may have a great amount of hilarious moments, but there's also as many scenes that aren't as funny. That's just the nature of the beast. But I think this film does a great job at finding a way to keep you entertained or laughing throughout its running length. Maybe the film is too long for its own good, but the film has an excellent cast that they do make these flaws not as insufferable as it would be in other films. That's to be expected when you have a talented supporting cast that includes John C. Reilly, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jane Lynch, Gary Cole, Amy Adams, among many others. There are so many bits in the film that I really can't even begin to go over them without leaving out many others. One of my favorite ones, dating back to when I first saw the film, definitely had to be the car wreck that kept going through the commercial break. Really, this movie is full of memorable moments. Like I said, just far too many to go through right now. That's about it really, I realize this was a shitty review, then again, I don't think I've ever written a good one, but this was a really fun movie that you should see if you haven't yet. It's on Netflix, so there you go. Highly recommended.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Feb 28, 2016
    There's a lot of offbeat and weird jokes (some land, some don't) but the problem is that the movie takes the plot too seriously and ends up playing like a spoof that isn't actually spoofing anything.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 04, 2015
    While it did get a few laughs out of me, Talladega Nights is one of Adam McKay's weaker films. It did feel like a one-note joke for the most part; Sacha Baron Cohen made up for most of what Will Ferrell surprisingly failed at. His self-righteous French persona is top-notch and, as always, a hilarious performance from Cohen. It isn't as much as the film being flawed as it is being hard to ignore the greatness of McKay's other films "Anchorman", "The Other Guys", and especially the comedy classic "Step Brothers".
    Kevin M Super Reviewer

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