Saturday, June 11, 2011

Rat Race (2001)

Director: Jerry Zucker

Starring: John Cleese, Breckin Meyer, Cuba Gooding Jr., Seth Green, Vince Vieluf, Whoopi Goldberg, Jon Lovitz, Kathy Najimy, Rowan Atkinson, Dave Thomas, Amy Smart, Wayne Knight, Kathy Bates

More info: IMDb

Tagline: 563 miles. 9 people. $2 million. 1001 problems!

Plot: A Las Vegas casino magnate, determined to find a new avenue for wagering, sets up a race for money.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again? Probably not.

It's been nearly ten years since I saw this and that seems about right although I think twice is probably enough. It's funny but there aren't enough knee slappers to carry it for nearly two hours although, to its credit, it doesn't feel that long. Zucker is one of the guys that directed AIRPLANE! (1980) and he's certainly worthy of attempting a comedy in the vein of IT'S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD (1963) (that one clocks in at over 3 hours!) it's Zucker.

Everything that involves Cleese (and those wonderful choppers) is hilarious. I LOVED all of the unusual bets that he and his clients were involved in. The picture needed more of those spread around. The Jon Lovitz/Kathy Najimy bits were great ESPECIALLY the Hitler's car bits. OMFG the WWII reunion was priceless.

That's my favorite story thread. The Kathy Bates/Whoopi Goldberg and daughter bit was hilarious as well, especially the climax of The Squirrel Lady's directions. My least favorite was Cuba Gooding's thread (there were some minor laughs with the Lucy bus) and the Rowan Atkinson thread with Wayne Knight (again, some minor laughs but nothing near as funny as the Lovitz bit).

If only the quality jokes were more abundant this would be so much better (naturally) but despite the few gut busters, I don't think this is something I'll watch again. I wonder how it would be edited with just the Lovitz thread intact. I'd sit down for that twenty minutes but there's far too many movies to watch before I die to come back to this one despite it being a pretty good, above average comedy.

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