Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)
Amy Adams as: Susan
Directed by: Adam McKay
Written by: Will Ferrell, Adam McKay
Selected Cast: Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Sacha Baron Cohen, Leslie Bibb
Release Date: August 4, 2006 (US)
Genre: Comedy / Action / Sport
MPAA Rating: PG-13
If you’re not first, you’re last.
Ricky Bobby is a NASCAR racing sensation whose “win at all costs” approach has made him a national hero. He and his loyal racing partner and childhood friend, Cal Naughton Jr., are a fearless duo, thrilling their fans by finishing most races in the top spots – with Ricky Bobby always leading the pack. When a flamboyant French Formula One driver, Jean Girard, challenges him for the supremacy of NASCAR, Ricky Bobby must face his own demons and fight for his place as racing’s top driver.
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Amy plays Susan, an assistant to Will Ferrell’s NASCAR racing protagonist Ricky Bobby. Her part is limited but towards the end of the film we see more of her character after she memorably confesses her love for Ricky in a bar and then consummates that love in one of the booths, mimicking Tawny Kitaen in the infamous Whitesnake video.
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• Susan: “It’s because it’s what you love, Ricky. It is who you were born to be. And here you sit, thinking. Well, Ricky Bobby is not a thinker. Ricky Bobby is a driver. He is a doer. And that’s what you need to do. You don’t need to think. You need to drive. You need speed. You need to go out there, and you need to rev your engine. You need to fire it up. You need to grab a hold of that line between speed and chaos, and you need to wrestle it to the ground like a demon cobra! And then, when the fear rises up in your belly, you use it. And you know that fear is powerful, because it has been there for billions of years. And it is good. And you use it. And you ride it; you ride it like a skeleton horse through the gates of hell, and then you win, Ricky. You WIN! And you don’t win for anybody else. You win for you, you know why? Because a man takes what he wants. He takes it all. And you’re a man, aren’t you? Aren’t you?”
Ricky Bobby: “Susan, I’ve never heard you talk like that… Are we about to get it on? Because I’m as hard as a diamond in an ice storm right now.”
• Susan: “Hi, I’m his lady. I’m Susan. I painted the car, I… we had sex.”
Reese Bobby: “Is that right?”
Reese Bobby: “Well, I wish I coulda been there for that.”
• Susan: “‘Me’ is you. Because it’s just you out there. We don’t have any corporate sponsors, we don’t have any fancy team owners. We have you. And this car, and this cougar, which symbolizes the fear that you have overcome. It’s all there for you.”
Glenn: Ricky, this car is like your Excalibur, the mighty sword that Sir Lancelot used to bring together the Knights of the Round Table, until Lancelot betrayed him by laying with his queen…”
Glenn: “… in the biblical sense.”
Ricky Bobby: “Okay, Glenn. Everything cool that Susan said, you wrecked it.”
• Filmed on location in Charlotte, North Carolina and some scenes at Alabama, USA.
• Producers pitched the movie idea to studios as: “Six words: Will Ferrell as a NASCAR driver.”
• The first 400,000 PlayStation 3 systems included a Blu-ray copy of the movie, a month before the DVD release.
• Wonder Bread, Old Spice, and Perrier were not charged for their product placement in the movie. Old Spice and Wonder Bread promoted the movie through back-end deals while Perrier was not required to take any action despite its presence in the movie. In addition, Ferrell showed up to many public appearances in his Wonder Bread uniform at no additional charge to the company.
• NASCAR officials objected to the original title of Talladega Nights, so the working title was then changed to the name of the production company, High, Wide, and Handsome. Loud and Proud also was considered. Following a brief phase in which the movie did not have a title, the film eventually reverted to its original title.
• Will Ferrell offered a role to Steve Carell, but Carell couldn’t accept due to scheduling conflicts.
• The second NASCAR-based film that John C. Reilly has been in. The other was 1990s Days of Thunder (1990), with Tom Cruise.
• Ricky Bobby’s driver’s license is shown to have been issued on July 16, which is Will Ferrell’s birthday. The license also states that Ricky was born on July 16, 1971.
“Simultaneously teasing and loving a subject doesn’t make for easy comedy, but writer-star Will Ferrell and director/co-writer Adam McKay pull it off with good-ol’-boy good nature in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. NASCAR and its colorful melding of larger-than-life characters and action appear an ideal fit for Ferrell’s onscreen persona, translating into terrific summer B.O. as fans of the left-turn-only circuit have a movie they can call their own.” – Robert Koehler,
“Cohen and Ferrell riff off each other with inspired lunacy. So it’s hard to watch when the plot thickens and congeals with scenes involving Ricky’s love for his absentee daddy (Gary Cole) and a totally unnecessary romance with his assistant, Susie, well played by Amy Adams but quite a comedown from her Oscar-nominated turn last year in Junebug. Even the baby Jesus can’t save Ricky Bobby after that.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
“When the last race has been run, however, Talladega Nights belongs to Will Ferrell. He’s created a voice and a physical look for Ricky Bobby, complete down to a soul patch under his lower lip that is both authentic and comic, and his ability to be amusing even when he doesn’t appear to be doing anything is remarkable. For a film that feels like it has nearly as many lapses as the Talladega 500 has laps, a gift like that is irreplaceable.” – Keneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
“Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby is a pretty funny comedy and a slick juggling act. Taking place in the world of NASCAR racing, the picture attempts to benefit from the popularity of the sport while showing contempt for the culture surrounding it. Thanks to the laughs, and there are plenty of them, “Talladega Nights” may end up creating no resentment within NASCAR circles, but there’s no mistaking it: This is a decidedly blue-state take on a red-state phenomenon.” – Mick LaSalle, San Fransisco Chronicle