Talladega Nights was much funnier than I thought it would be. I'm not sure why my expectations were low, I guess I just might be growing out of stupid comedies a bit, but it wasn't as dumb as I assumed. They could have just made fun of rednecks and NASCAR for a couple hours, but there were lots of clever moments and pretty good wordplay that made it quite funny in spots. Even when characters were just insulting each other, the specific insults were usually pretty darn good. It was especially great hearing it from Ricky's two kids, who were horrible brats in the beginning but ended up as articulate gentlemen.
Will Ferrell's schtick of picking a random, usually sports related profession and doing a movie about it is getting a little tiring, but he's been likable whenever I've seen him on the screen (I just realized I've never seen one of his movies in theaters, which is weird), and does a good job carrying this movie. John C. Reilly plays his sidekick and best friend, who's very dedicated but completely lacks common sense. Sacha Baron Cohen is also good as the villain to the story. They use the character as a simple excuse for a lot of French and gay jokes, but he provides a lot of amusement as well. The rest of the cast also does a pretty good job keeping things funny, including known names like Michael Clarke Duncan and Amy Adams. The dialogue is a strong point of the script if the pacing isn't. It felt like Ricky spent too little time doing well and too much wallowing in his own failure before recovering in the obvious return-to-glory storyline. Instead of spending time establishing the situation, there were some pretty drawn-out scenes that were strictly for laughs, although I suppose I can't fault a comedy for having those. In the end, I liked the movie quite a bit.