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Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby Review Critics


Dave White Profile

… start-to-finish-funny … Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Sheri Linden

    From its pitch-perfect title through just about every detail, this sendup of sports-triumph movies maintains the right parodic pitch, if not always the highest mph on the laugh speedometer.

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Like "Anchorman," the secret to the inspired absurdity of Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby is in the improv.

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    The races are scorchingly shot, and they lend the movie a zest.

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  • 80

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Talladega Nights may be brash, unbridled, even unhinged, but its cornpone humor is rich in parody, and its craftsmanship is superb -- smart writing, shrewd direction, precisely calibrated performances (whether the calibration calls for delicacy or broad-gauge burlesque), inventive language, inspired silliness and all-but-flawless timing.

  • See all Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 13 & under

Wild, raunchy comedy about NASCAR culture.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Talladega Nights includes relentless commercial product placements, by way of parodying professional racing's tendency to slap logos on every available surface. The film also features lots of bawdy chatter concerning a wayward father's lusty behaviors and his son's cheating wife. The hero's two young sons spend half the movie behaving badly -- talking back to elders, cursing, and damaging property -- as their father, a stereotypical "redneck" parody, encourages them. An arm-breaking scene includes loud bone-breaking noise; several car crashes are violent (cars flipping and smashing and catching on fire). Same-sex and opposite-sex couples kiss; one gay character is portrayed very flamboyantly (continuing the movie's trend of stereotypical characterizations). Characters refer to drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes.

  • Families can talk about the terrible role models provided by the parents over subsequent generations. How is Ricky's father disappointing to him, and how does Ricky raise his own children to be lazy, selfish, and rude? What's Ricky's mother's role in the film?
  • They can also talk about whether this parody challenges or reinforces stereotypes about NASCAR.

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Parodies NASCAR "culture" stereotypes, targeting Christianity and those who are homophobic.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: Most characters are portrayed very broadly, reinforcing established stereotypes.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: Slapstick falls (no blood); several car crashes are a bit harrowing (cars flip over, bang each and walls, catch on fire, with some disturbing point-of-view camerawork); Jean breaks Ricky's arm (loudly); Ricky's attacked by a cougar, who leaves bloody scratches and a ripped shirt.

  • sex false2

    Sex: Women appear in skimpy clothing; references to Ricky's daddy's sexual appetites; kissing between both opposite-sex and same-sex couples; Ricky's best friend sleeps with and steals his wife; frequent references to "balls"; graphic reference to posing for Playgirl ("spreading cheeks").

  • language false2

    Language: One bleeped-out "f--k"; Ricky gives rival the finger; repeated uses of "s--t" and other obscenities.

  • consumerism false3

    Consumerism: The movie features racing's relentless endorsements; products named and pictured include Wonder Bread, Coca-Cola, Power-Ade, Sunoco, Old Spice, Mountain Dew, Domino's pizza, Taco Bell, KFC, Fig Newtons, Sprint, Applebees, Lucky Charms, Perrier, Hardees, Sprint, Sony Vaio, Visa, Sunoco, QVC, Kodak, Halliburton.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: References to drugs (weed, peyote, crack); frequent drinking (team sponsor is malt liquor; champagne popped after races; race team owner's wife is always drunk) and some cigarette and cigar smoking.