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Movie Reviews
by Jonathan McKee

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (12/12/2006)


Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, language, drug references and brief comic violence.

Directed by Adam McKay (Anchorman)

Starring Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly


Jonathan's Rating: Skip it

I don’t get it. I really don’t see what all the hype was about.

Don’t get me wrong… I like Will Ferrell. I loved Elf and even giggled a few times during Anchorman. But Talladega Nights didn’t do it for me. It crossed the line too many times, and frankly, I don’t really understand the writer’s intentions.

The film is the story of the rise and fall, so to speak, of a champion NASCAR driver. The film definitely has a few funny moments—you saw them in the previews: Ferrell’s proverbial gallivanting about in his underwear (a la Jack Black), his prayer where he thanks God for his “smoking hot wife,” and him stabbing himself in the leg to prove he has no feeling… or so he thought.

That wraps up the humor for me. I wish I had quit at the preview.

My biggest problem with the film was the disrespect and immitatable behavior. I’m not a prude… heck, I liked Happy Gilmore. But I really don’t even understand what the writer of Ricky Bobby was attempting. There was a scene early in the film around the dinner table where Ricky Bobby’s two kids were showing disrespect to their grandfather (disrespect is an understatement). As they were yelling at their grandfather (basically, something to the gist of “shut up old man, you don’t know jack!”), and their father was encouraging them to do so… I can’t help but question the writer’s motives. I couldn’t tell if he was trying to make fun of the typical redneck driver, or if he was just selling out to a cheap laugh, encouraging this type of behavior. And you can bet that the average 13-year-old won’t know.

Skip this one.

SHOULD KIDS SEE IT?
My kids won’t be seeing it. Plenty of crude humor and disrespect.


Side Note:
As said above, we don't recommend your kids see this film. But on the occasion that they actually have already seen it, you may want to dialogue about the film with them. These questions below may be a help to you.

Conversation Starter
Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):

  1. What are some of the messages or themes you observed in this movie?


  2. How do you suppose we—as serious Christ-followers—should react to this movie?


  3. How can we move from healthy, Bible-based opinions about this movie to actually living out those opinions?




Jonathan McKee Jonathan McKee, president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over a dozen books including the new Get Your Teenager Talking, The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket, The Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guide for Teenager, and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers, Connect: Real Relationships in a World of Isolation, and the 10-Minute Talks series. Jonathan speaks and trains at conferences, churches and events across North America, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan and his wife Lori, and their three teenagers Alec, Alyssa and Ashley live in California.



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