Rat Race (2001) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)
I guess you could say this is a remake
or maybe an homage to It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, the classic
slapstick comedy from about forty years ago. It was directed by Jerry Zucker, who teamed with his brother and others back in the 80's on the
Airplane! and Naked Gun films. I guess I watched this movie because the Zucker movies used to crack me up.
The plot: several people are recruited in
casino to participate in a race. The manager of the casino has stashed
two million dollars in a public locker in Silver City, New Mexico, and
has given each of the contestants a working key to the locker. First one
to open it gets all the money. No rules. Go.
Why this largesse to random strangers? It seems that the casino has assembled this contest
as a betting game for the highest rollers on the strip. Bored of
betting on cards and horses, the moguls place their bets on which of the
Magnificent Seven will arrive first. When you think about it, it's a
pretty cool idea.
The writers came up with some funny ideas. Cuba Gooding
ends up hijacking a bus full of Lucille Ball impersonators. Jon Lovitz
and his nice Jewish family manage to steal Hitler's personal touring
car. It's a long story. His little girl wants to stop at the Barbie
museum, and it turns out to be a Klaus Barbie museum, and ...
never mind. You get the idea.
thought it was quite funny and imaginative in places, especially
Lovitz and the Nazis, but my reservation about the movie is that too
much of it relies on pratfalls and silly faces and things falling
apart. I stopped laughing at
that schtick about 50 years ago. On the other hand, if you have kids or
grandkids about 10 years old, it would be a solid way to
pass some time with them. They'd find it disrespectful and silly enough, and
you'd mine a few nuggets of comedy here and there.
- With their
votes ... IMDB summary: IMDB readers say 7.2/10,
Apollo voters 87/100. (Those are certainly higher than I
would have expected. I would have guessed about 6.5/10)
- With their dollars ...
budgeted for $48 million, it grossed $56 million. That isn't
bad, but the studio hoped
it would be a blockbuster end-of-summer comedy. It did stay
for six weeks on about 2500 screens, but disappointed
relative to expectations.
guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of
excellence, about like three and a half stars
from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm
watchability, about like two and a half stars
from the critics. The fives are generally not
worthwhile unless they are really your kind of
material, about like two stars from the critics.
Films under five are generally awful even if you
like that kind of film, equivalent to about one
and a half stars from the critics or less,
depending on just how far below five the rating
guideline: A means the movie is so good it
will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not
good enough to win you over if you hate the
genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an
open mind about this type of film. C means it will only
appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover
appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you
like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if
you love the genre. F means that the film is not only
unappealing across-the-board, but technically
inept as well.
Based on this description, this
film is a C. OK slapstick comedy, with some moments better than
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