I wanted to watch this as soon as I found out Sacha Baron Cohen was in it (I'm a big Ali G fan). I've enjoyed other Will Ferrell movies - Anchorman in particular - but I'm not a fan of NASCAR and, watching the previews and trailers, it looked a bit, ah, predictable.
But what was quickly apparent was that this is not a movie that is taking itself seriously. It pokes fun at some very stereotypical American types, and NASCAR itself, while at the same time revelling in the fun of the sport and all its hype.
Many of the jokes were worse than crass, they were downright vulgar. I still laughed. Many times I felt my jaw gape, or I cringed, and while I knew they were not meant to be taken seriously, I couldn't help but feel a bit sickened. The two boys, in particular, although reformed, were painful to listen to. Although exaggerated a great deal, the characters are sadly recognisable.
Sacha Baron Cohen, though, steals the movie with his faux French accent, his cliched, over-the-top homosexuality, his pursed mouth, greased curls and comic timing. He is almost unrecognisable in the role, a testament to his acting abilities.
I did enjoy this movie, and it is funny, but rife with product placement to the point that it's a joke - yet still it's product placement. Oh, and don't dwell too much on the weird plot holes.
I wouldn't consider this a kids movie by any means, and it's too obvious to be clever. Look elsewhere for more subtle wit: Talladega Nights is for drunken laughs only.