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