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*** Official "RAT RACE" Review Thread

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Robert Crawford, Aug 16, 2001.

  1. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Rat Race". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread. Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning! If you need to discuss those type of issues, I have designated an Official Discussion Thread which can be found at this link .
    Again, without warning, I will delete all posts that are not a HTF member review!
    Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
    Crawdaddy
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    [Edited last by Robert Crawford on August 16, 2001 at 06:00 PM]
     
  2. Brook K

    Brook K Lead Actor

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    Admittedly not by finest work, but Rat Race isn't a movie that inspires a reviewer.
    I've never seen IAMMMMW, so I would have to call it similar to Cannonball Run or a Vacation movie.
    First off, it features some nice 60's style animated opening titles which I was happy to see. Movies hardly ever have interesting opening titles anymore.
    Premise is that John Cleese sets up a race with a cast of characters. They'll race from Vegas 500 odd miles to a train station in New Mexico where $2M has been put in a locker. Little do they know that Cleese has also assembled a bunch of rich tycoons to bet on the outcome of the race. Of course on the way each character has various encounters and mishaps.
    Anyway, it starts slow because of the giant cast of charaters to introduce. Once Cleese gets everybody together and explains the game and the race begins though, it does have a fair amount of genuine laughs. They mostly involve Jon Lovitz and Mr. Bean, so if you're not a fan of their schtick you really might want to stay away. Also some very funny stuff with Dave Thomas. But it also has the requisite tired body fluid humor and cow jokes. Plus the really dead end Cuba/Lucille Ball freakshow.
    However the ending is a complete trainwreck. It feels like a piece of too many cooks corporate BS, something Paramount is notorious for, but what ever happened, this is one of the most abysmal ways of ending a movie I've had the misfortune to experience.
    Finally be warned, this movie manages to use both "Who Let The Dogs Out" and "All-Star" which I believe I've now heard in no less than a dozen movies.
    To sum up, I'd say that it was funny at times, but I don't know how much money I'd recommend paying to see it.
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  3. JohnS

    JohnS Producer

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    This was one terrible movie.
    This was not funny, not good, not amusing in any way.
    This is so sad, that there are 3 academy award winners in this piece of crap.
    This movie relies on animal cruelty and child molestation for laughs.
    It is a crime to even compare this to IAMMMMW.
    The movie does start out pretty slow, but then gets worse and worse and worse. The ending is the worst thing of them all.
    MY RATING=F
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  4. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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    The movie starts out slow and then begins to pace itself up. Each character has their own unique adventure, but some things were barely done with the characters (like Whoopi Goldberg and her daughter seeing eachother after 27 years and they only talk about it for 5 minutes at the beginning of the film). Some of the adventures are unbelievable, but that is where the comedy is. If you come into the film thinking too literally about things making sense (like finding a rocket car and blasting off at Mach 1 speed) then this movie won't be good for you.
    I personally enjoyed most of it. John Cleese's character is very strange, but his attitude through most of the movie is pretty funny. I'll admit that the ending was really bad and probably just a way to make sure that nobody could say "Mr. Bean won" or "Jay Sherman won" and ruin the movie for anyone else without explaining the whole thing. While the movie had a bad time or two, there were some great scenes that I considered to be worth it.
    Scene Spoiler Ahead, watch out
    Jon Lovitz is driving on the road with his family in Hitler's car that they stole from a nazi museum that they thought was devoted to Barbie dolls. His family is finding things in the car, like lipstick, sunglasses, and a harmonica. Jon tells them to stop but then looks and sees what appears to be a lighter (the one you push in and then pull out and its hot) in the "console" area. He and his wife debate over whether its a lighter or not, then he takes it out, burns his middle finger, and holds it out of the car to let it cool off. Little does he know that there is a woman on a motorcycle right next to the car that he is giving the finger to, and when his wife tries to explain the reason behind him doing that to the biker, she just ends up giving the biker the finger. A large group of biker women bash his car and send the family into peril. Jon gets the lighter in his mouth somehow and burns his tongue. They end up getting forced offroad and burst onto a stage at a World War II veterans celebration. The car stops, and Lovitz now has some ash on his upper lip. He gets out of the car, stumbles to a microphone, and in the process of trying to explain what happened, ends up looking like Hitler getting out of his car mutterring jumbled nonsense and giving all the old people the finger. This was the only scene in the movie where everybody in the theater was laughing. Some consider it low comedy, but you have to see it for it to be funny. I liked it.
     
  5. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    The film may play better if you haven't seen the trailer, which contains many (but not all) of the best scenes. It's uneven, but there are some funny moments. I particularly liked a rather striking shot involving two of the protagonists and a monster truck (you'll know it when you see it).
    The ending is no more of a disaster than the ending of Blazing Saddles. Movies like this are probably impossible to end well; so the trick becomes getting on with it.
    I do remember seeing IAMMMMW, and although it may be heresy to say this, I never want to see it again. It's a classic demonstration of the principle that "more" doesn't equal "funnier". Rat Race has some slow parts and some amusing parts, and it's over in the right amount of time.
    M.
     
  6. Matthew Chmiel

    Matthew Chmiel Cinematographer

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  7. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    Can't say I was too impressed, but that may have just been me; there were a lot of times when the theater around me was howling and I was just bemused. The movie could definitely have shed a character or two; it sets up a bunch of characters but basically just gives them a quirk or two and then throws them into a weird sketch or two.
    There were some funny parts - an excruciating sequence with John Lovitz does, in fact, pay off big later, while most of the other groupings get at least one good set piece each. And I would have kind of liked to see more of Breckin Meyer and Amy Smart - they've got an easy chemistry and it appears they're being set up as the "good guys" most of the time.
    The scenes with John Cleese and Dave Thomas at the casino are probably my favorites. John Cleese can get away with some very cruel jokes by dint of being John Cleese, and they use that fairly well.
     
  8. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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    I'm going to throw in another 2 cents.
    I think that if the film had more time tacked onto it, then it would have been better. Some things weren't developed enough, if at all, and could have been used for some comedy. I also think they should have done more with Cleese and his comrades, as their bits were always getting some laughs from me.
     
  9. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    Well, I was compelled to see it after 2 reviewers I trust (Jeffrey Welles - Reel.com and Ed Johnson-Ott Nuvo.net) both gave it big thumbs up. How could this be? Better than MMMMWorld?
    But I could see where they were coming from. Our theater was laughing at many funny moments, most of which fall on the strength of the performance more than the writing.
    The film has several very funny straight man takes (where some 3rd party witnesses the craziness much to their hilarious disbelief). And many of the other "routine" bits that could fall flat (and apparently do for some reviewers) I found tweeked for laughs by the performance.
    Seth Green and his brother have a couple of moments like that, including a reverse of the jeep scene from Jurassic Park that had me laughing quite a bit. Their performance also saves a rather poor CGI monster truck bit.
    Rowan is really on as well and sets up plenty of straight man reaction jokes, especially early on. I was impressed by his effort. But he is also plagued by the WORST CGI moment involving a train that I really wished they had done with a least a hint of realism.
    Kathy Bates has a funny little bit that is again mainly funny because of her, not the script. The same is certainly true for Whoopi who plays her sweet, naive mother bit very well.
    The one bit of good writing in my opinion was the gamblers' scenes. These guys will bet on ANYTHING and many of those gags were so clever that I think my audiance missed some of the subtlety going on with it. One bit in particular had me thinking "why are they going off down this story?" only to be surprised with a very funny joke.
    The end is awkward, but I agree with the Blazing Saddles point in that sometimes it's just tough to wrap up the craziness. However, I still think they could have done something better than they came up with.
    One other thing...Lovitz wipes some LIPSTICK on the steering wheel of the car to get it off his hand...he then gets his upper lip smashed into it when the car goes offroad...it wasn't ash on his lip. That moment really had the crowd roaring.
    Welles just did a bit discussing the very relative nature of comedy, pointing to Rat Race as a clear example it appears. There are a lot of people reacting very well to this film, and just as many hating it.
    I'm on the big thumbs up on this polarizer. I also think it gives MMMMWorld a run for it's money.
    3.25 out of 4 from me.
     
  10. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Finally got to see Rat Race, and I have to admit that it was funnier that I thought it would be. The sheer zaniness of the character types brought out plenty of laughs from me and the audience. If you have an afternoon free, try to see it in the theaters with a crowd, it'll make for a funnier viewing experience.
    I rate it a solid B or 3 stars.
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