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File:RatRace 3564.jpg


 "It's a horse race with animals who think and lie... and cheat... and play dirty!"

Eccentric Millionaire Donald Sinclair


It's another great day in Las Vegas, and casino tycoon Donald Sinclair (John Cleese) is getting bored. So, six 'lucky' contestants are invited to meet with Sinclair for the gambling opportunity of a lifetime: a race to Silver City, New Mexico. The prize? A duffel bag stuffed with two million dollars, stored in a locker at the train station. Each contestant is given a key to this locker, with GPS locators, and turned loose. Along the way, in their panic to get to the finish line first they have capers involving Adolf Hitler's car, helicopters, demolition derbys, rocket cars, human hearts, and an I Love Lucy convention. And cows. Seriously, the cow becomes quite important.

On the journey, they drag other people into the race and the chaos.

Of course, it's never as simple as it sounds, since not only do the competitors have each other to play against, they have no idea that they are being gambled with by other multi-millionaires, betting on who will get there first. In repeated cuts back to the casino it is shown that these millionaires have no qualms about betting with other people's dignity.

Yes, it's an explicit ripoff/remake of It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. But easily as funny as the original.

The contestants, most of whom have or end up with allies:

  • Owen Templeton (Cuba Gooding Jr): A football referee who announced the wrong winner after a coin toss and is now universally unpopular (except with Vera, who's not happy at her hair-stylist, who lost $800 on the game).
  • Duane (Seth Green) and Blaine Cody (Vince Vieluf): Two brothers who are trying various get-rich-quick schemes. Blaine speaks incoherently due to a recent tongue piercing. Those Two Guys are a clear parody of Dingy Bell and Benjy Benjamin from the original film.
  • Vera (Whoopi Goldberg) and Merrill (Lanei Chapman): Merrill is the long-lost daughter of Vera and the two have just met for the first time, when Merril is an adult and trying to launch her own business.
  • The Pear family: Randy (Jon Lovitz) and Bev (Kathy Najimy), who are on vacation at the casino with their kids Jason (Brody Smith) and Kimberly (Jillian Marie Hubert). Possibly the stand in for the crazy dentist from the original movie.
  • Nick Schaffer (Breckin Meyer) and Tracy Faucet (Amy Smart): Nick is a lawyer, the calmest and most intelligent of the contestants. At first he doesn't even care about the race, suspecting it to be some kind of scam, until the Cody Brothers sabotage the airport. Eventually he recruits Tracy, a hot-headed helicopter pilot, as transportation and Love Interest. The latter might be a parody on the semi-amateur pilot from the original movie.
  • Enrico Pollini (Rowan Atkinson): An Italian tourist with narcolepsy. Perhaps the Funny Foreigner stand-in for Terry-Thomas' character from the original film.

Methods of travel used by the contestants include many types of cars, vans and trailers - including Adolf Hitler's Mercedes Benz and a courier van transporting a human heart - a taxi, a helicopter, a train, a tour bus bound for an I Love Lucy convention, a tour bus bound for a mental institution, a Monster Truck, a Hot Air Balloon, a rocket car, a horse, and when all else fails, your own two feet.

This film is an example of:


 Owen: Excuse me, miss? [Bartender turns around.] Oh, sorry! I thought you were a woman!

Bartender: I am a woman.

Owen: ...

  • Ambulance Chaser: One of them saw a potential client in Enrico when he got ran over by an AMBULANCE!
    • It should be noted that this role was played by Gloria Allred, who acted as a Brick Joke because she'd rushed to the person that had slipped on the Cody brothers' soap that was meant to invoke this trope.
  • The Big Race: Six contestants who are selected by a group of compulsive-gambler multi-millionaires to compete in a race from Las Vegas to Silver City, New Mexico for a two million dollar prize... hilarious hijinx ensue.
  • Biker Babe: Not attractive. But really aggressive.
    • Though not without reason - after all, both Mr. and Mrs. Pear had just flipped her off, and Mr. Pear complimented her on her "nice dyke... er, bike!"
  • Billing Displacement: Rowan Atkinson (aka Mr. Bean) is given high billing, even though firstly it's an ensemble movie, and secondly he's asleep for most of it. Whoopi Goldberg also gets high billing, although it's better justified.
  • Bolt of Divine Retribution / Smite Me Oh Mighty Smiter: Subversion/variation, with Tracy saying to the mechanic that rips them off that it was "unchristian", the mechanic replying asking for God to smite him... and then a rocket car drives by, and makes a sonic boom that knocks down his ramshackle garage.
  • Brick Joke: Pollini's narcolepsy. Also cows.
  • The Cameo:
    • Oscar winner Kathy Bates as the Crazy Squirrel Lady.
    • And who knew Superman would cheat on his girlfriend?
    • Plus Smash Mouth's concert at the end.
    • Gloria Allred, probably the most noted (and ruthless) attorney in the country, as herself. Understandably, the characters have an Oh Crap moment when they inadvertantly injure someone and she's around.
  • Catch Phrase: Enrico keeps repeating, "Issa race!"
  • Chekhov's Gun: A pickup truck carrying spare car parts. It causes the heart in Zack's ambulance to fall out of its container, and again can be seen at a glance during the motorcycle gang attack on Randy, causing the cigarette lighter to fly into his mouth.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Vicky the hooker.
  • Coincidental Accidental Disguise: Randy with a Hitler-moustache-looking lipstick smudge. Driving a Mercedes decked out in swastikas. Doing what appears to be Nazi salutes. As a burnt tongue makes his speech sound ambiguously German. To an audience of World War II veterans. And giving them the finger.
  • Comeback Tomorrow: A non-insulting comeback: in Rat Race, while Nick is flirting with Tracy. They're both reading the same biography of Charles Lindbergh, and she tells him that she's up to the part where "he's just had a sex change". A moment later he learns that she's a pilot.

 Nick: Are there many female pilots?

Tracy: There's at least one.

Nick: When I walk away, I'm gonna think of something great to say to that.

Tracy: Good. Mail it to me.


 Duane: What do you mean "that's it"? I'm not giving up! And neither are you! And neither am I!


 Sportscaster: And now for our loser of the week. This week it's a no-brainer. Referee Owen Templeton made the biggest boneheaded call in the history of football. It happened last Sunday at Dallas with the score tied at . They were headed towards overtime. Everything was cool. They were about to toss the coin to see who would kick off.

Owen Templeton: (on TV screen) Dallas, call it in the air.


 "I can do whatever I like! I'm eccentric! Raowr!"


 Kimberley: Hurry up dad, I'm prairie-dogging it!

Randy: "Prairie-dogging it"? What the hell does that mean?

Jason: You know how prairie-dogs stick their heads out of holes in the ground?

Randy: Oh... Oh!

  • Not So Above It All - Nick Schaffer starts out as the only one not convinced by Sinclair's too-good-to-be-true offer. But when he meets a helicopter pilot just as all the planes have been grounded, including all the other contestants...
  • Oh Crap - Wayne Knight's character upon striking Enrico with his van... and the accident is seen by Gloria Allred.

 Allred: (calling down from casino balcony) DON'T WORRY! I saw the whole thing, I'll be right down!

Driver: Shit! Gloria Allred...

  • Only Sane Man: Nick Schaffer could be classed as this, as he has the sanest approach to finding a way to win, and the best idea when they get to meet Smash Mouth. Too bad he teams up with Tracy Faucet...
  • Rich Boredom: the original reason for it.
  • Rule 34:

 Harold Grisham: We're naked, but wearing sailor hats, then we get into a jacuzzi filled with Pepto-Bismol, then I clip your toenails and you shave my buttocks.

  • Running Gag:
    • The high rollers keep making increasingly ridiculous bets on everything in sight.
    • Owen keeps stealing clothes and the Cody brothers keep accidently ending up pursuing each other in cars.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Nick and Tracy.
  • Short Cuts Make Long Delays:
    • Vera and Merrill. They should have bought a squirrel...
    • The Cody brothers' great idea to split up so they can take different routes lands them in a lot of bother with a hardware store guy, a hot air balloon, and cows.
  • Surveillance as the Plot Demands: Notably averted.
  • Survival Mantra: As everything is going wrong around him, Owen just keeps driving the bus, repeating to himself, "Two million dollars. Two million dollars."
  • Take Our Word for It: Silver City is said to be a small town; but the nearby monster truck rally and Smash Mouth Concert/Fundraiser seem to beg to differ.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Run a Barbie Museum... dedicated to Nazi official Klaus Barbie, not the doll. Then the Pears steal Adolf Hitler's car, (Or Nazimobile, as Randy calls it) which was on display.

 They're always pissed, honey. They're Nazis. It's like it's their job.

  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Enrico Pollini, who is so absent-minded that he got hit by a speeding car for running onto the road trying to hail a taxi. Later he does show enough savviness to realize exactly what the Heart Courier wants when he starts asking him if he has any relatives that would miss him.
    • The Cody brothers are good at this as well, mostly for failing to think their plans through all that well. The scene at the airport tower is a perfect example of this.
  • Train Escape: Pollini jumps on a running high-velocity train - and embarks into it!
  • Unstoppable Rage: Tracy's reaction to finding out her boyfriend has been cheating on her.
  • We Meet Again: Owen gets into a taxi with a guy who lost forty thousand dollars on the game he called wrong. He gives him the slip at the airport, but then runs into him again on his way out. The taxi driver drops him off in the middle of the desert.
  • Woman Scorned: Tracy goes instantly psycho when she finds her boyfriend cheating on her with his ex.
  • Women's Mysteries: In a subversion of Mugged for Disguise, Owen convinces the bus driver to give him his uniform by exploiting their mutual complete ignorance (and Squick) about childbirth.
  • World of Ham: Only Breckin Meyer isn't a Large Ham.
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