A friend of mine was appalled that General Stanley McChrystal's favorite movie is "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby." Actually, I like it, too -- I only worry that McChrystal didn't get the full scope of the jokes. Next to "Anchorman," it's  Ferrell's best movie. As a good ole boy conceived in a steakhouse restroom and born in a speeding car that stopped short so the momentum would make him pop right out, Ferrell sustains the look of a cheerful -- sometimes dazed -- down-home monomaniac. He's the most reckless NASCAR racer who ever lived in this Days of Blunder parody of films like "Days of Thunder."

Did McChrystal groove on Ricky Bobby's monomania? Or did he laugh himself silly snickering at Sacha Baron Cohen's brilliant burlesque of a French Formula One racer, the inscrutably Gallic Jean? (Cohen's Jean has the most hilarious intonations since Peter Sellers' Clouseau -- Jean can go from throaty to nasal in nanoseconds.) While cruising to his many victories, Jean may sip a machiato or prop a copy of Camus' "The Stranger" against his steering wheel.

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"Talladega Nights" resembles comfort food, but with its brazen confrontations of class with crass, it has just enough discomfort in the mix. Plus it boasts Amy Adams as Ricky Bobby's besotted assistant. As the Marvel Comics bullpen used to put it, "'nuff said."

By the way -- do you think Ferrell ever has topped this? (I wish he would do more supporting roles -- he was the freshest, funniest part of the film version of the Mel Brooks musical "The Producers.")

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