Rat Race

Squeak, squeak!

Lucy! You have some 'splaning to do!

Now here's a movie for ya! Something that stars the likes of John Cleese, Rowan Atkinson, Cuba Gooding Jr., Jon Lovitz, Kathy Bates, Wayne Knight, Whoopi Goldberg, Dave Thomas (to name some of my most favorite comedians, in that order) also starring are the less admirable Seth Green, Kathy Najimy, Amy Smart, Dean Cain, and about fifty Lucille Balls.

The most significant asset a comedy can have is A) Solidly funny material and B) Great actors. "Rat Race" succeeds with flying colors as far as the "B category" is concerned. The only actor I had a problem with was Amy Smart. She is a very beautiful woman (potential teenaged viewers take note), but she is completely unconvincing in her role! (She was supposed to play a helicopter operator who was in complete rage saw her boyfriend naked in a swimming pool with another woman.) In that scene, she looked angry as she drove her helicopter to terrorize her boyfriend for a couple of minutes, but it was forced. She didn't look the lunatic she ought to have been. But that's only one actor out of about 20 good ones.

I have gotten two pleasant surprises out of this film! Cuba Gooding Jr. and Jon Lovitz are both at their comedic highs! They happen to be this movie's greatest gems! And I thought that would clearly go to John Cleese and Rowan Atkinson, but alas, they certainly didn't reach their comedic best and they also lacked screen attention.

Remember when I noted the most significant assets a comedy can have? Yes, it's just two paragraphs above this one. The "A category" does fend quite well, but it's certainly not top-notch. This movie is incredibly goofy. That's its whole point of existence. When you get a load of who wrote and directed this film (Jerry Zucker) fans of comedy should rush to the movie theater to go see this because he was a director and writer of Airplane!, Top Secret!, and Ruthless People; films comedy fanatics love and adore. Does "Rat Race" have good comedic material? Yes and no. I would venture to say that over 50% of the jokes in this movie succeed, which is as good a percentage anyone can expect these days. However, the 45% jokes or so still fall flat, in the dust.

I hereby officially recommend "Rat Race" to comedy lovers! I am a huge fan of Mel Brooks and also, Jerry Zucker and I love their brand of humor. I will say that, as a fan of this genre, I certainly wasn't disappointed. Don't expect this comedy to go into the annals "Young Frankenstien" or "Airplane!," but you can expect to get a couple of good, silly, (and surprisingly clean) laughs.

The plot? My, my, I forgot to mention that there was a plot! Essentially, this movie is a remake of "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World" which is better than "Rat Race," including having better actors. "Rat Race" has more of an uneven plot but that doesn't really matter all that much. In comedies such as this, a great plot is nice, but not always necessary. Mostly, any plot this movie has to offer is just filler to make the jokes more coherent.


Some hilarious jokes makes watching this film worthwhile, but beware: If you hated "Airplane!" and "Young Frankenstein," you're not only a loser, but you probably won't like this movie much. I enjoyed it. It's a load of fun; even for the family plagued with preteens. The plot, the misfired jokes, and Amy Smart are this film's greatest turn-offs.

Movie reviewed by Michael Lawrence



Rowan Atkinson (Beans anyone?), John Cleese (Or would you like a drink before the war?), Whoopi Goldberg (Watch this movie or your mother will give you a giant whoopi), Cuba Gooding Jr. (AKA Fiedel Castro), Seth Green (Good thing it wasn't Tom Green), Jon Lovitz (as Adolph Hitschmel). Also starring Dave Thomas, Breklin Mayer, Kathy Najimy, Amy Smart, Dean Cain, Jenica Bergere, Carrie Diamond and Douglas Haase. People who don't like credit: Wayne Knight and Kathy Bates. Plus there were about 50 Lucille Balls, but there were no Rickys. *sigh*

Directed by:

Jerry Zucker


2001 comedy

Rated PG-13.


Don Ignacio's score: B

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