Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)

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Released 15-Jan-2007

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary
Deleted Scenes-Extended Scenes
Featurette-Gag Reel, Adam McKay's Video Diaries
Featurette-Will Ferrell Returns To Talladega, Rick And Cals Commercials
Additional Footage-Track
Featurette-Line-O-Rama, Walker And Texas Ranger
Featurette-Auditions, Interviews
Trailer-Click, Gridiron, Open Season, Casino Royale, Little Man
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 116:30 (Case: 108)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (92:05) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Adam McKay
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Gary Cole
Jane Lynch
Jake Johnson
Jason Davis
Lorrie Bess Crumley
Luke Bigham
Austin Crim
Michael Clarke Duncan
Case ?
RPI $29.95 Music Alex Wurman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.30:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Italian
Hindi
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
Italian Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes, Though many are very funny.
Action In or After Credits Yes, bloopers and outtakes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

††††"Six Words: Will Ferrel as a NASCAR driver". That's allegedly the pitch with which Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby was sold to studios by its producers, and pretty much sums up the final movie perfectly. Ferrel plays Ricky Bobby, a NASCAR driver from the south who is undisputed #1 in the circuit, thanks largely to his team. In particular, he owes a lot to his best friend and undisputed #2 driver Cal Norton, Jr. (John C. Reilly). Ricky has it all, a smokin' hot wife (whose rear end rates "at least a 9.4 out of 10 on any scale"), heaps of money, a trade-marked motto (If you're not first, you're last!"), two awesome kids, a giant house and his dream job. That is, until a gay French formula 1 driver, Jean Girard (Sacha Baron Cohen, who is better remembered as Ali G or Borat) joins the NASCAR circuit and steals his thunder. After losing everything except his two boys, Ricky Bobby has to claw his way back to awesomeness.

††††Talladega Nights is very accessible stuff, whether or not you know anything about NASCAR or stock car racing (I certainly fit in the "not" category). It is as much a parody of white trash life in southern USA as it is about racing. Most of the laughs come from Ricky's dysfunctional family, especially his two boys and his pot-dealing deadbeat dad (played to perfection by Gary Cole).

††††Talladega Nights is a real return to form for Will Ferrel after the woeful Bewitched and incredibly forgettable Kicking & Screaming. The humour is very similar to his last absurd-character driven vehicle, Anchorman, (which was also directed by Talladega Nights director Adam McKay). In comparison to Anchorman, the funniest parts of Talladega Nights are not as funny as the funniest parts of Anchorman but Talladega Nights is more consistently funny (even if some of the jokes are easy laughs). Quite often, there is barely time to breathe between the laughs. This is not Ferrel's best work, but it's certainly a worthy entry on his resume.

††††The version of Talladega Nights included on this DVD is the extended "unrated" edition that runs about 13 minutes longer than the theatrical cut. The only real difference between the two versions is that a number of scenes run a little longer, there are no new subplots or scenes. New jokes are thrown in, and some of the funnier ones are extended (and do a good job of furthering the laughs). The most noticeable extended scene is a scene set in the "Pit Stop" bar that introduces Jean Girard. Will Ferrel fans probably don't need much prodding to go out and buy an extended version of Talladega Nights, and they won't be disappointed.

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Transfer Quality

Video

††††The film is presented in a 2.30:1 aspect ratio, close but not quite the theatrical 2.35:1 aspect ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

††††The image is quite sharp throughout the film. There are no signs of film grain or low level noise at any point. The level of shadow detail is very good, but not perfect, such that there is good definition of everything in dark spaces.

††††Very mild macro blocking is occasionally noticeable in some of the backgrounds, but there are otherwise no visible MPEG artefacts that hinder the viewing experience. There are no noticeable film artefacts in the transfer.

††††The colour scheme used in the movie is quite natural, although many of the colours themselves are bright and garish, much like the real NASCAR world. These colours are captured evenly and consistently in the transfer.

††††This is an RSDL disc, with the layer change occurring mid-scene at a break in the dialogue at 95:03. Despite the transition occurring mid-scene, it was not noticeable on the equipment on which I tested the DVD.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

††††There are three main audio tracks to the feature and one commentary; English and Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks (384 Kbps) and an English descriptive audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (192 Kbps) track.

††††The dialogue is is quite clear and sits at a good level in the mix. The dialogue appears to be well synchronised to the video at all times. The English descriptive audio track gives a very thorough run down of what is happening on screen throughout the movie, in between the actual lines of dialogue. I am not sure how well this film would come across to a blind person, but the descriptive audio track is certainly thorough.

††††The surround channels are put to good use throughout the movie, particularly during the racing scenes. At times it really does sound like you are in the middle of a speedway. I was rather disappointed with the subwoofer usage however. The subwoofer does get used, but does not capture the roar of the engines with nearly the power I was hoping for. This takes the excitement level of the races down a little lower than it probably should be.

††††The score and songs used throughout the film needed to evoke two things, the excitement of driving really fast and southern white trash. Together they manage to accomplish this task with flying colours.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

††††Talladega Nights comes with an impressive number of extras, most are quite short, but virtually all of which are well worth watching.

Main Menu Audio & Animation

Audio Commentary - Director Adam McKay, et al.

††††An occasionally amusing, though quite dry, commentary with director Adam McKay and a rotating hot seat of "friends" (mostly actors from the film).

Deleted and Extended Scenes

††††Nine deleted and extended scenes, some of which also play over the closing credits.

Featurette - Gag Reel (2:22)

††††A fairly short, but amusing gag reel.

Featurette - Adam McKay's Video Diaries (11:47)

††††Excerpts of a reasonably funny video diary kept by director Adam McKay during the course of production. Whilst not really a "making of" documentary as such, it gives a good insight into the production of the movie without being too dry or technical. There are also a number of deleted scenes in this diary that aren't seen in the deleted scenes part of the disc.

Featurette - Will Ferrell Returns To Talladega (5:27)

††††Press-kit style footage of Will Ferrel returning to Talladega to promote the film and meet a few real NASCAR drivers. This is probably the least interesting of the extras.

Featurette - Ricky And Cal's Commercials (1:35)

††††A series of alternate versions of dodgy commercials that Ricky and Cal do throughout the movie.

Additional Race Track footage (1:16)

††††Alternate takes and shots of the racing and crashes seen in the movie. Short, but there's a sweet crash or two to be seen here!

Featurette - Line-O-Rama (5:17)

††††A quick-fire set of alternate versions of punch lines and catchphrases from the movie. Many of these are as funny, if not more so than the versions that made it into the movie.

Featurette - Walker And Texas Ranger (5:31)

††††Ricky's two sons, Walker and Texas Ranger, steal many of the scenes in Talladega Nights. This featurette provides a montage of lines from the film along with alternate lines and bits edited together into an incredibly punchy short.

Featurette - Interviews (13:08)

††††A series of interviews with characters from the film. There's one with Ricky Bobby and Cal, one with Ricky's wife Carly and Cal, and the funniest of all, one with Jean Girard and his husband Gregory.

Featurette - Auditions (9:12)

††††Screen footage from the auditions of Jack McBrayer (creepy member of the pit crew), Jane Lynch (Ricky's mum), Leslie Bibb (Ricky's wife) and Houston Tumlin & Grayson Russell (Ricky's kids).

Trailers - Click, Gridiron Gang, Open Season, Casino Royale and Little Man

††††Trailers for a number of upcoming Sony releases.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

††††Talladega Nights is available in Region 1 in both the theatrical cut and the "uncut and unrated" version that we are getting in Region 4. Aside from the different cuts of the movie, the extras in the two Region 1 versions are very similar, although there are more (presumably extras that didn't quite make the PG-13 rating have been left out) on the unrated version.

††††The PG-13 Region 1 version misses:

††††The unrated Region 1 version misses:

††††The Region 4 edition misses:

††††In terms of extras, the Region 1 "unrated" edition is the winner, though only by a nose and probably not by enough to warrant importing. Of course, you will have to import from Region 1 and make do with fewer extras if you want the original theatrical version rather than the "unrated" cut.

Summary

††††"Six Words: Will Ferrel as a NASCAR driver". An incredibly silly, but very funny return to form for Will Ferrel and on a disc with a very healthy dose of extras.

††††The transfer is very good, but the audio transfer lacks the thundering bass that the racing scenes deserve.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDLG V8824W, using S-Video output
DisplayLG 80cm 4x3 CRT. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX-D512. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-D512
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, and a 100W centre and 2 surrounds, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Region 1 Unrated commentary - Steveo REPLY POSTED
Region 1 Unrated commentary - Steveo
Scene Missing? - Anonymous REPLY POSTED
re Scene Missing? - Stimpy
The commentary track - Gordon Sumner