09 August 2006

The Ballad of Ricky Bobby: The Great American Satire

Let's all see Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and laugh at ourselves. Well, more likely, laugh at everyone else; you've got to wonder watching this thing if everyone else in the theatre is laughing because they think the film is funny or because they know they're being mocked. Probably not the former, which made me and Micah laugh harder.

This film, according to Roger Ebert, "inhabits the biopic formula all the way through--even down to the slightly draggy stretch in the second act," and all to the glorious satirical end of mocking Americans for everything American. The theological discussion amid grace at the Bobby dinner table, which offers a panoply of fast food, is probably not far from the actual notions most church-goers seriously entertain. The final victory shot that superimposes Ricky Bobby against an American flag is ridiculously patriotic, suggestion that winning a NASCAR race is one of the most American things one could do.

Product placement, homophobia, beer drinking, lover-trading between dumpy men and hot women, fast cars, pot smoking, perfunctory religion, hellaciously independent children: it's an Amerian dream.

2 comments:

Brent and Kat said...

OK, but did you LIKE it or not? And is it worth seeing? I am certainly not opposed to laughing at my provencial self, though I have to confess that even I can't stomach Nascar...

Jen Strange said...

Um, yes, loved it. I guess I should have prefaced all that "this is satire" business with "I love satire" :)

If you can't stomach NASCAR, then this is the movie for you. Of course, it's also the movie for those who love it--but they might not get that they're the ones being mocked.