Is the ‘Talladega Nights’ 10th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Worth Buying?

     January 7, 2017

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Before sharing in an Oscar win for writing the razor-sharp dramatic adaptation The Big Short in 2015, writer-director Adam McKay had crafted himself quite the fine comedy career with silly satires like Anchorman, its sequel, The Other Guys, and Step Brothers. With McKay at the helm and Will Ferrell showing off his talent both in front of the camera and behind it as McKay’s writing partner, the duo have teamed up for some of the funniest, most quotable comedies in the last 15 years. Chief among them is the 2006 effort, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.

A little over a decade ago, this satirical play on the world of NASCAR and its larger-than-life celebrity drivers saw Ferrell step into the title role, a super-talented but immature racer who only ever wanted to go fast and take first place. Ricky Bobby’s ridiculous rise, fall, and rise again is the backbone of a film that features such unforgettable characters as John C. Reilly‘s best friend/rival Cal Naughton Jr., Sacha Baron Cohen‘s French rival driver Jean Girard, and Houston Tumlin and Grayson Russell as Ricky’s energetic hellions, Walker and Texas Ranger. That’s only scratching the surface of the incredibly talented and hilarious cast of characters assembled for this film, and if you’ve only seen the feature itself, then you’ve only seen the bare minimum of the insanity captured by McKay and crew.

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Image via Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

The 10th anniversary of Talladega Nights Blu-ray, aptly subtitled the “Big Hairy American Winning Edition”, features more than 90 minutes of all-new special features, which should be reason enough for any fan of McKay and Ferrell (or just Ricky Bobby’s winning ways) to pick this up. McKay is well known for his comedic directing style that takes full advantage of his hilariously capable cast by letting the cameras roll while Ferrell & Co. perform back-and-forth improv sessions. This approach not only captures the best possible jokes for McKay to cobble together into a finished film, it also provides him with a ton of additional material. He famously used the extra footage taken from Anchorman to put together an alternate “film” of deleted scenes and outtakes, titled Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie. Now, the additional material from Talladega Nights is available for fans to check out for the first time ever.

Here’s what you’ll get:

All-new deleted and extended scenes, 13 in total. Now while most of these scenes were cut for good reason (either they just weren’t funny or they caused pacing/plot issues), for fans of Ferrell and McKay, these are must-see. It’s always fun to watch Ferrell riff with Baron Cohen or Reilly, so even though these takes didn’t make the final cut, it’s a blast to watch masters at their craft. There are also more one-liners from Walker and Texas Ranger, which you simply can’t miss.

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Image via Columbia Pictures

McKay’s behind-the-scenes video diaries taken over the course of the production offer short glimpses into the unique, dry, and occasionally sardonic humor of the writer-director, as well as a look at the insanity that was the film’s production. Ranging from filming in the infields of NASCAR’s most famous tracks, to second unit shoots capturing high-octane stunts, to studio-based green-screen scenes, McKay takes viewers through every stage of the journey. Along the way, he reveals bits of trivia about the film, like the fact that he heard Pixar’s Cars film had characters named Thunder & Lightning, so they had to reshoot scenes between Ricky and Cal that opted for the now-famous “Shake & Bake” catchphrase.

You’ll also see raw, one-camera footage that captured the actors riffing for minutes at a time, a montage of one-liners and alt takes, and the adorable auditions by Tumlin and Russell for Walker and Texas Ranger. Of course, there’s also a pair of audio commentaries to give you additional reasons for watching the feature yet again; you might even learn how to wrestle your fear like a live cougar along the way!

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby 10th Anniversary Edition is a worthwhile pick-up on Blu-ray if you’re looking to upgrade from your current copy or just want to add this contemporary comedy classic to your collection. It pairs quite nicely with a 40oz of Laughing Clown Malt Liquor and a package of Fig Newtons for one helluva weekend binge.

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