Rat Race

Rat Race is a movie that uses greed as a plot device, but one where human goodness eventually triumphs. The film is very similar to It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World, which I thought was hilarious. Likewise, Rat Race is also funny with bunch of fairly inventive gags.

The wealthiest men in the world spice up their life by gambling on trivial contests, including how much a hooker will charge for a night of kinky activities and how long they can hold their food in while their private jet bounces up and down. Their host, Donald Sinclair (John Cleese), owner of a Las Vegas casino, comes up with an idea to select six sets of people at random and pit them against each other in a race to retrieve two million dollars stored in a locker in Silver City, New Mexico. Of course, the rich gamblers get to bet on who gets to be the first.

The six groups form a motley crew: the dysfunctional Pears family (Jon Lovitz, Kathy Najimy, Jillian Marie, and Brody Smith); Vera Baker (Whoopi Goldberg) who has just re-united with her daughter Merrill Jennings (Lanei Chapman); the narcoleptic Enrico Pollini (Rowan Atkinson); the slacker brothers, Duane (Seth Green) and Blaine Cody (Vince Vieluf); the straight-laced Nick Shaffer (Breckin Meyer) and spunky Tracy Faucet (Amy Smart); and the dogged Owen Templeton (Cuba Gooding Jr.). The ensuing race results in a great deal of hilarity.

The host of actors playing them should give you some clue as to the personality of the characters. Particular stand outs include Amy Smart whose character takes revenge on her cheating boyfriend with a vengeance, and Rowan Atkinson for his general goofiness. Seth Green and Vince Vieluf also manage to generate a few laughs. The level of humour in this film is extremely high with the squirrel lady gag, the whole Nazi/Barbie Doll gag culminating in an appearance at a WWII Veteran Gathering, and the flying cow gag being the highlights.

Director Jerry Zucker, who previously made films like Airplane! and the underrated Ruthless People, has recently been in a bit of rut. He does a great job of returning to form here, aided by a talented cast. The ending of the film is adequate (where goodness triumphs over greed and the wealthy gamblers are taught a lesson), featuring an appearance by Smashmouth.

Rat Race is a fun movie where it looks as though the cast had a great time making it, and it's hard to dislike such films. I recommend checking it out on the big screen.

Movie ramblings || Ram Samudrala || me@ram.org