Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby is more than 16 years old, which is just mind-boggling considering it doesn’t feel that old. Sure, some of the jokes are dated and Will Ferrell’s schtick grew a bit tiresome a while back, but the film still tickles the funny bone and makes for a simple, lighthearted piece of entertainment.
So, just to drive home that point, here are the funniest scenes in Talladega Nights that hold up today!
Knife in the Leg
For those unaware, the plot of Talladega Nights revolves around race car driver Ricky Bobby, who endures a Days of Thunder-esque wreck midway through the film that leaves him paralyzed. Well, actually, he’s not paralyzed, he just thinks he is, which leads to this bit:
Glenn is Dead
During the climatic race, Ricky Bobby’s crew informs him that Glenn, one of their staff, tragically died the night before, but only after wishing for a victory. Of course, Glenn pops around the corner and ruins the ruse, which was designed to give Ricky Bobby extra motivation to drive harder.
I’m On Fire
The marketing blitz behind Talladega Nights leaned heavily on the film’s signature image: Will Ferrell running around a race track in his underpants screaming for help from Tom Cruise. Not only was this a great trailer stinger, but the moment also brought the house down on the opening night.
Cougar in the Car
In order to regain his confidence, Ricky Bobby must learn how to drive with a cougar in his car. The bit is absolutely outlandish, but the fact that Ferrell plays the scene so matter-of-factly is what really sells the comedy.
I Like Crepes
Sacha Baron Cohen has only a handful of scenes as Ricky Bobby’s French nemesis Jean Girard, but he steals every moment thanks to his ridiculous accent and over-the-top persona. That his male lover is a dog trainer played by Andy Richter is just icing on the cake.
Still, Cohen’s best bit is his introduction during which he pins Ricky Bobby and gives him a very difficult ultimatum revolving around crepes and a broken arm.
Cal Calls Ricky Bobby
After the debilitating crash, Ricky Bobby’s world turns upside down. He loses his car, his money, and has to watch his wife run off with his best friend, Cal. Of course, Cal has a hard time grasping the gravity of the situation and insists on remaining friends with Ricky Bobby, leading to this humorous telephone exchange.
The Big Finale
Finally, one of the film’s best bits occurs during the final race in which Ricky Bobby and Jean Girard wreck, emerge from their vehicles, and sprint to the finish line amidst Pat Benatar’s “We Belong” before locking lips as a show of good sportsmanship. It’s a crazy, over-the-top ending that still works all these years later.