Rat Race

"Very Good"

Rat Race Review


Crazies, Lucille Ball impersonators, redneck garage mechanics, neo-Nazis, dykes on bikes, cross-dressers, electrified dogs, flying cows, vomit contests, vindictive girlfriends, and Rowan Atkinson's horrible Italian accent are the elements of success for Rat Race, the latest hilarious remake of It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.

I know how bad it sounds. But thanks to the comedic talents of Jon Lovitz, Atkinson, John Cleese, and Whoopi Goldberg, plus a sharp script written by Andy Breckman (a writer for TV Funhouse and one of the best Richard Pryor movies, Moving) Rat Race is much better than it should be. In the end, it's summer junk food for the soul.

Through the orchestration of casino owner Donald Sinclair (John Cleese in one of best performances in recent years), six groups of people are brought together in a Vegas casino to race against each other in an attempt to reach a satchel of $2 million in locker 001 in the train station at Silver Lake, New Mexico.

The Pear family (headed by Jon Lovitz) finds its family vacation in Vegas interrupted, and the Cody brothers (Seth Green and Vince Vieluf) are two con artists whose personal injury suit against the casino goes awry. Mr. Pollini (Rowan Atkinson), an extremely cheerful but narcoleptic Italian man, represents the hare of this story. After falling asleep on the way out of the casino, he gets hit by a creepy ambulance driver named Zack (Wayne Knight) who is on his way to New Mexico with a live heart in a cooler. Owen Templeton (Cuba Gooding Jr.) is a disavowed NFL coach who blew a major call and is drowning himself in alcohol at the casino's bar. Vera (Whoopi Goldberg) and her estranged daughter Merrill have reunited at the casino after Vera gave up Merrill for adoption years ago. Nick (Breckin Meyer) is an uptight lawyer-in-training. All of these clowns earn a shot at the money and head out across the desert.

Rat Race starts off with a mildly humorous tone and then unexpectedly ramps up to a full-blown gut buster. Jerry Zucker, co-director of such classics as Top Secret! and Airplane!, lends a veteran hand at handling the pace of the comedy and keeps the laughs coming in waves.

The main drawback of the film, though, is the lack of a solid third act. The humor completely dries up when all of the parties converge onstage with the band Smash Mouth. It ends up feeling like an old Three's Company episode. And about as funny.

Tons of extras -- tons! -- on the DVD release, including some iffy deleted scenes, a funny gag reel (including a scene with Gooding and his signature line), and, most bizarrely, a series of recorded telephone calls with the principal actors provided in lieu of a commentary track. It's strange, but oddly compelling. Kind of like the film itself.

Hike!



Rat Race

Facts and Figures

Run time: 112 mins

In Theaters: Friday 17th August 2001

Box Office USA: $55.8M

Box Office Worldwide: $85.5M

Budget: $48M

Distributed by: Paramount Pictures

Production compaines: Paramount Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 44%
Fresh: 55 Rotten: 71

IMDB: 6.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: Cuba Gooding Jr. as Owen Templeton, as Duane Cody, as Vera Baker, as Nick Schaffer, as Tracy Faucet, as Donald P. Sinclair, as Zack Mallozzi, as Blaine Cody, Lanei Chapman as Merrill Jennings, as Randy Pear, as Beverly Pear, as Enrico Pollini, as Harold Grisham, as Gus the Cabbie, as Shawn Kent, Brandy Ledford as Vicky, as Lloyd, as Herself, as The Squirrel Lady, as Rainbow House Nurse

Contactmusic


Links


Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.