Aneesh Chaganty

Movie #216 Rat Race

In Uncategorized on May 28, 2011 at 11:12 PM

Movie #216 Rat Race

(2001, US, d. Jerry Zucker)

One of my favorite comedies of all time, Rat Race has all the right ingredients and the perfect recipe. It features an all-star cast (what I mean by that is B through D list) of hilarious comedians with a great concept: A bunch of people from Las Vegas are selected to participate in a race to get to Silver City, New Mexico. The first one there wins 2 million dollars. Though not as fun as an actual scavenger hunt (something It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World has on this film), it’s the actual characters that make this movie a real gem. Written by Andy Breckman, producer of the show Monk, Rat Race is a testament to the fact that interesting characters in wacky situations makes for great comedy. The best part about the film is that he gives every single character a tangible desire, which obviously plays out humorously. We have a dysfunctional family, each of member of which wants to go to Las Vegas for a different reason, may it be gambling, relaxing, or David Copperfield. We have the narcoleptic drifter who just wants to have fun. We have the football ref the nation is angry at. We have two cons. We have a mother and daughter who are meeting for the first time. We have an angry ex-girlfriend. We have a lawyer with huge aspirations, etc.. Now put all these people in a race to the death and see what happens. It’s a wonderful formula that takes you from the deserts of Nevada to Hitler fandom museums to bullet trains to helicopters to I Love Lucy buses to a Nazi car to broken hot air balloons to stray horses to ambulances to rocket cars. It’s one hell of a ride and though it requires a lot more suspension of disbelief post-9/11, still keeps you laughing the whole way through.

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