Talladega Nights: More Isn’t Always Better

This movie was very much like Will Ferrell’s previous project Anchor Man. It’s a screwball comedy about an idiotic egomaniac who suffers an emotional breakdown and loses everything to a hated rival, only to rise again with a healthier sense of perspective. The script is similarly full of quotable lines that young guys will want to repeat over and over to their friends, such as, “I like to think of the baby Jesus as a mischievous badger.” I was laughing in several scenes, including my personal favorite: when Michael Clarke Duncan reads Ferrell the Judy Blume book in the hospital (the dinner table discussion of depictions of Jesus is classic too).

My main complaint was going to be about the length of the movie. I saw it on video and it came in at two hours and two minutes, but now I realize that I saw the “unrated” version, which is longer than the 108-minute theatrical release. That’s not as bad, though I maintain that silly movies like this should try to hold themselves down to the 90-100 minute range. This was especially egregious in the case of Wedding Crashers, a film that started so well and fell apart toward the end.

Talladega unrated

As for this “unrated” version, there wasn’t anything that raunchy in it, not that I can compare it to the theatrical release I never saw. Here’s an Amazon reviewer on the subject:

This “unrated” edition doesn’t really give you that much extra. There is only one instance of R-rated language in the entire film, and there’s no nudity. The only violence is Gerard’s breaking of Bobby’s arm, which could be considered to be relatively graphic, but at the same time it’s pretty hokey. Even the special features and extras don’t deliver on what most will want out of “unrated” content–it’s all PG-13 clean.

Why these DVDs are marketed as “unrated” is beyond me–do people buying them think there will be some sort of a pornographic orgy scene randomly thrown in? I think the one bit of R-rated language is the added scene where Ricky Bobby, down on his luck and without a driver’s license, is reduced to delivering pizzas by riding the bus. He tries to engage a fellow passenger in dialogue, and suffers a few f-bombs in response. Considering I thought the “Ricky Bobby falls apart” section of the movie was overly long, it follows that my view is this shouldn’t have been added in.

Maybe I would’ve preferred the 108-minute version better. Both versions are available on DVD, with the unrated version ranking #233 in Amazon sales and the theatrical version ranking #5,335. People must think it’s better to get the extra minutes of footage, and it’s actually a dollar cheaper to buy right now. But more isn’t always better.

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2 Responses to Talladega Nights: More Isn’t Always Better

  1. […] The article goes on to describe some of the things that may lead to the NC-17 rating. Of course the studio is most likely to make big cuts to get an R because that’s necessary economically, even if the directors will be unhappy. Now this sounds like a good case for an unrated DVD version. […]

  2. The Funny NASCAR Racing

    The humorous comedy film was directed by Adam McKay, the co-writer of the Saturday Night Live cast member Will Ferrell who stars as Ricky Bobby on this film. Other artists were C. Reilly, Michael Clarke Duncan, Amy Adams, Sacha Baron Cohen and Leslie…

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