Talladega Nights

We watched Talladega Nights Sunday evening and were pleased, at least, that we chose to pay the reduced matinee price. Maybe I’ve outgrown the comedic pratfall and slapstick routines of Larry, Moe, and Curly, but I’d like to think that Talladega Nights just wasn’t that funny. My wife and I decided that it was probably hilariously funny to make and be a part of, but that personal comedy is lost a bit on the audience. What was funny about the movie was the audience response. Amy and I both felt that it was geared strongly towards a great eye-poke at Americans. I felt that the creators really got what they wanted from the response, and the joke is on the audience. The irony of the film is in the humor. It isn’t always delivered well and it’s not always apparently applicable to the movie, but when the audience laughs, they’re being laughed at. The Frenchman, Jean Girrard played by Sacha Baron Cohen, has an unconvincing accent and portrays one of America’s stereotypes of the French. Girrard is gay, French, a sophisticate, and impossible to understand. This all plays into a more sinister attitude towards the French by Americans. Talladega Nights also takes advantage of a theme that envisions adult-oriented lines given by children to be funny. The lines aren’t funny coming from real actors and fall flatly to my ears coming from children. I understand what they’re doing, but I just prefer that good comedy be left to real actors. There is certainly good comedy in the movie, but it could have been summarized in some Saturday Night Live skits and sufficed. I enjoy Will Ferrell’s humor, but I find that his comedy is more appropriate as a sideline or co-star role. His pieces in the Austin Powers movies still rings truly hilarious to me. I contrast this movie to the masterpieces (they were masterpieces, weren’t they?) The Naked Gun, Dragnet, and Police Academy of yesteryear. Not the brilliance of those classics. I was also reminded in a discussion with a co-worker that it was probably not the intention of the creators for this movie to be intellectually analyzed. Maybe so, but I truly believe that Talladega Nights was more than a silly comedy about Nascar and perhaps just someone’s personal joke on our state of being as Americans.

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