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File:Tallegada nights 2869.jpg

  The story of a man who could only count to #1.

"Shake and bake!"
—Ricky Bobby and Cal Naughton, Jr.

A 2006 Comedy parodying the world of NASCAR, starring Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Michael Clarke Duncan, and Sacha Baron Cohen among others, directed by Adam McKay. It is a Judd Apatow production, and considered by many to be the spiritual successor to Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, which was also an Apatow production directed by McKay.

Ricky Bobby (Ferrell) is a dull yet charismatic NASCAR superstar who lives by the motto of his missing father Reese Bobby (Gary Cole): "If you're not first, you're last." Helping him always secure the number one spot on the track is friend and fellow driver Cal Naughton, Jr. (Reilly). A few years after his initial rise to stardom, Bobby has a wealth of endorsements, is married to a babe named Carley (Leslie Bibb), and together they raise their two boys, Walker and Texas Ranger Bobby.

However, the good life Bobby has made for himself is put in danger when French Formula One racer Jean Girard (Cohen) makes a jump to NASCAR. After a humiliating loss puts Girard at the top of the NASCAR world, Bobby loses everything: his reputation, his endorsements, and even his wife (to Cal!). However, with the unorthodox training methods of Reese, and the support of his mother Lucy (Jane Lynch) and his assistant-turned-lover Susan (Amy Adams), Ricky motivates himself to return to the NASCAR scene in order to restore his reputation.

Tropes used in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby include:
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Some NASCAR fans have embraced the movie and the phrase "Shake 'n bake" can sometimes be heard at races by fans.
  • Affably Evil: Jean Girard is arguably the most likeable in the film.
  • Affectionate Parody: Of NASCAR and southern culture in general.
  • Anti-Villain: Jean Girard. He’s more reasonable and honourable than most of the protagonists.
  • As Himself: NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who's seen asking Ricky for his autograph to drive home how popular Ricky is at the start of the movie.
    • As well as fellow driver Jamie McMurray, who learns the hard way what Ricky Bobby picked up on sale at Target (the bird).
    • FOX commentator Mike Joy, and color analysts Larry McReynolds and Darrell Waltrip appear during the race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
    • NBC team Bill Weber, Wally Dallenbach, and Benny Parsons (died 2007) are the commentators at Ricky's comeback race at Talladega. Their presence establishes that the race is the 2005 UAW-Ford 500, of which some of the racing footage was comprised from.
  • As You Know: Reese and Ricky review the origins of stock car racing.

 Ricky: "(He gets doused by a pail of water) Oh!"

Reese: "Where'd stock-car racing come from?"

Ricky: "What? (He gets doused again) Hey, stop doing that!"

Reese: "How did stock-car racing get it's start?!"

Ricky: "Uh, bootleggers in Prohibition, they had to have cars fast enough to outrun the Feds. Then they started racing each other!"

Reese: "That's right. (He douses him again.)"

Ricky: "If I was right, why'd you throw another bucket on me?!"

Reese: "Well, I filled up three."

  • Awesome McCoolname: Walker Bobby and Texas Ranger Bobby, Ricky's sons.
  • Ballad of X: Name title
  • Bratty Half-Pints: Ricky's sons. They stop acting like "retarded gang-bangers" after Ricky's mother gets after them, though at the beginning you'll probably be surprised that their parents don't punish them for mouthing off to other family members. Especially once Cal incites them.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Done by a random black guy on a bus to Ricky.
  • Danger Takes a Backseat: Done intentionally by Reece with the cougar in the back seat of his car.
  • Dare to Be Badass: Susan gives this kind of speech to Ricky.
  • Dark Horse Victory: Both Ricky and Girard are disqualified for having gotten out of their cars, so the trophy goes to Cal, who was in third place when the big crash took out everyone on the grid except for Ricky and Girard.
  • Disappeared Dad: Reese Bobby.
  • Drop What You Are Doing: A bar patron dropped his beer the second that Jean Girard introduced everyone to his husband.
  • Dueling Movies (or a really funny double feature): With Pixar's Cars, which also features a cocky race car "driver" who's brought down a few notches by a long-lost master in pursuit of a green-colored rival.
  • Fair Weather Mentor: Inverted. Ricky's father refuses to stay around when things are going well, and usually ends up intentionally screwing it up.

 Reese: Well, it looks like everything is just about perfect now. Making me a little...twitchy.

 Announcer: That was the most incredible thing I've ever seen in all my years! Of course, it's completely illegal and in no way counts, but man, what a show!

  • Glasses Girl: Susan.
  • High Concept: Was literally pitched by McKay and company by simply writing on a chalkboard: "Will Ferrell as a NASCAR driver."
  • Hilarious Outtakes: A number of them during the credits, most of which consist of the actors going above and beyond many of the already funny scenes to purposefully corpse their fellow actors.
  • Implausible Deniability: Ricky thinks he's unable to walk. Earlier in the movie before the knife scene he gets out of the wheelchair he's in to retrieve a basketball.
  • Lady Drunk: Mrs. Dennit. This causes some situations that embarrass her husband.
  • Mood Killer: After a stirring speech about Ricky driving for his own sake, Glenn completely ruins the moment by making an extremely nerdy metaphor about Ricky's car being his Excalibur.
  • Overused Running Gag: Ricky running around in just his underwear and helmet thinking that he is on fire gets old after it only comes on twice.
  • Precision F-Strike: From the well-mannered Girard. "By the way, Ricky, I saw the Highlander movie! It was shit!" Or Girard's earlier line, "Hakuna Matata, bitches!"
  • Product Placement: Parodied, as with many other aspects of NASCAR.
    • Taken to the extreme when the simultaneous crash involving Bobby and Girard is interrupted by a commercial for Applebee's. This, however, is supposed to be an in-joke referring to the excessiveness of NBC's commercial breaks.
    • Perhaps even more extreme when Ricky thanks baby Jesus for certain products during dinner blessing due to contractual obligations.
    • Lampshaded when he plasters a Fig Newtons sticker on his windshield. "This sticker is dangerous and inconvenient, but I do love Fig Newtons," which Darrell Waltrip says he believes NASCAR will black-flag Ricky for.
  • Quote Swear Unquote: "Hakuna matata, bitches!" from The Lion King.
  • Second Place Is for Losers: "If you ain't first, you're last." Ricky Bobby bases his entire life on this one phrase his father told him, and earnestly believes it to the point that he can't deal with the idea of someone being better than him. He has a nervous breakdown when he wrecks in his first race against Jean Girard and needs training just to know how to go fast again.
    • Subverted later on in the movie when Ricky's Dad says "I was HIGH when I said that! That doesn't make any sense at all. You can be second, third, fourth... hell, you can even be fifth."
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: One breaks out every single time someone tries to say grace. "I like to think of Jesus as a mischievous badger."
  • Shout-Out: The plot very loosely imitates the 1990 Tom Cruise racing movie Days of Thunder. Ricky Bobby is like Cole Trickle; Jean Girard is a combination of Rowdy Burns and Russ Wheeler, etc. By coincidence, John C. Reilly appears in both movies (as Cole's car chief in Days of Thunder, here as Cal Naughton, Jr.).
  • Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Trailer: Amy Adams was left out of all advertising in favor of Leslie Bibb for some odd reason (especially since Adams actually has something to do with the plot).
    • Probably because her career up until that point mostly consisted of secondary roles. Enchanted, which would make her a star, didn't come out for almost another year.
      • However, the trope could be subverted: Leslie Bibb is far from a star herself. They very easily could have focused on the likeable Love Interest instead or used both beautiful women. The real reason is probably that Amy Adams is considered more classically beautiful while Leslie Bibb is more sexy/hot and more appropriate for NASCAR based advertising.
      • The answer you're looking for is screen time: Bibb's character is prominent through the first two-thirds of the film, while Adams' character doesn't impact the story until the last half hour.
    • Adams did have a memorable line in the advertisements: "Ricky Bobby is not a thinker! Ricky Bobby is a driver!"
  • Spoiled Brat: Walker and Texas Ranger, until Granny whips them into shape.
  • Throwing Off the Disability: Ricky Bobby thought that he had become paralyzed despite the doctors telling him that he's fine and that his mind is making him think he's paralyzed. It took a knife to the leg to make him realize he's okay. The broken arm is another example of this.
  • Training From Hell: Ricky's dad, Reese, helped Ricky Bobby regain his confidence by making him drive with a full grown cougar in the back of the car. And making him drive while blindfolded. And making him escape from the police.

 Reese: You've got to drive with the fear.

Ricky: THERE'S A COUGAR IN THE CAR!

Reese: Yeah. That's the fear.

  • Worthy Opponent: Jean Girard is looking for one and believes he’s found one in Ricky Bobby.
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