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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Parodies NASCAR "culture" stereotypes, targeting Christianity and those who are homophobic.
Positive Role Models
Most characters are portrayed very broadly, reinforcing established stereotypes.
Violence & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Women appear in skimpy clothing; references to Ricky's daddy's sexual appetites; kissing; Ricky's best friend sleeps with and steals his wife; frequent references to "balls"; graphic reference to posing for Playgirl ("spreading cheeks").
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One bleeped-out "f--k"; Ricky gives rival the finger; repeated uses of "s--t" and other obscenities.
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Products & Purchases
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.
Drinking, Drugs & 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.
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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). Characters kiss, and a gay character is portrayed very flamboyantly (continuing the movie's trend of stereotypical characterizations). Characters refer to drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Both vulgar and cheerful, like most other Will Ferrell movies, TALLADEGA NIGHTS: THE BALLAD OF RICKY BOBBY is also slightly tricky. It makes fun of multiple targets, using equally obnoxious tactics. No one is spared: It mocks stereotypically "redneck" NASCAR culture as well as other groups (gays, foreigners, and intellectuals). It's a parody, but kids may miss the point.
While this story is simple enough, the execution is often startlingly maladroit. While there is plainly an enthusiastic audience for the Anchorman school of filmmaking, this incarnation seems more a string of skits (namely, opportunities for Ferrell to act silly, which he does well) than a movie per se. In fact, the closing credits over outtakes is the funnier version of this approach. So if you go, stay through to the end.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.