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4.2 out of 5 stars
Rat Race [DVD] [2002]
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
My story's the same as everyone else - I saw the trailer, thought "Oh, for goodness' sake, it's just a remake of "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World; I'm steering clear", then caught the film by accident on the telly and was hooked.
The basic premise is simple - six keys, one locker, and a race for $2 million dollars. Mix into that some utterly hammy acting, Nazi Barbies, a cow tied to a hot-air balloon, and a woman intent on selling squirrels, and you've found yourself in the middle of Rat Race. And it's actually not bad. Rowan Atkinson's Italian, with an intentionally ridiculous accent and the line "Oh, a race! ...I hope I win" is frankly a remix of Mr Bean, whilst John Cleese's casino owner is classic Fawlty with extra teeth. But both those characters are classics, and stirred into this film, they become still funnier.
Every need is catered for, from those who like the disgusting (a human heart that lands up being chewed by a passing dog), to those who like the bizarre (betting on how long a maid can hang from a curtain rail). Even shameless pandering to the younger female population, myself included, can by found in the casting of the divine Breckin Meyer as a painfully cautious young lawyer determined not to go wrong, Seth Green as a dire conman, and Cuba Gooding Jr as a hapless football ref with a past he'd rather forget.
Yes, the ending is sickeningly sentimental, and in any other film would be inexcusable. But, given the events of the film, no other ending was possible. It doesn't try to be original, and really, who cares? Because in the end, you've had two million laughs at some crazy stuff that couldn't happen, and you're in a good enough mood to excuse anything.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 22 October 2002
If you're reading this then you've stumbled upon the page for one of the funniest movies of recent years. This film directed by veteran nutter Jerry Zucker (yes, he of ariplane and naked gun), so if you're familiar with his work then you'll know exactly what to expect from this little caper comedy!
The plot has eccentric casino owner Donald Sinclair (a top form Cleese with some rather odd false teeth!), pull together 8 random people whom he gets to race from Las Vegas to New Mexico for a prize of $2,000,000 whilst he takes bets on the outcome. And what a group he has assembled.
The action really gets going when bumbling brother Blaine and Dwayne (Vince Vieleuf and Seth Green, going very well together), sabotage the airport, consigning the race to the ground and a lot of fast paced gags. The other characters include Enrico Pollini, a narcoleptic italian, played by Rowan Atkinson who is basically Mr. Bean with an accent (some people have complained about this, but that's the character and who better to play Mr. Bean with an accent than Mr. Bean?), Owen Templeton, a football (the American version!) referee who is under scrutiny for a bad call that has a lot of gamblers breathing down his neck looking for revenge, is portrayed by Cuba Gooding Jr. The other cast members incluse further accomplished comedy actors such as Breckin Meyer and Amy Smart (Road Trip), Whoopi Goldberg, and Jon Lovitz.
What follows is an hour and a half of insanity in the classic chase movie style as the competitors try to outsmart each other in the race for the prize. Incidents along the way are typical Zucker with such nonsense as Jon Lovitz's Jewish family crashing into a WW2 veterans conference in Hitler's mercedes Benz, a cow dangling from a hot air balloon, Templeton stealing a bus filled with Lucille Ball impresonators, and Pollini dropping a transplant heart out of a moving vehicle. This movie doesn't let up with the laughs and should guarantee many with it's wide cast of characters, all very different, and played out by an accomplished cast of actors and actresses, but this will certainly not be to everybody's taste! Zucker is quite probably the best director for oddball comedy, but that's pretty much all you're going to get, some very stupid situation comedy, which is very low down on the intellectual scale, but still just as funny. The other main gripe with the film is the sickeningly sentimental ending, which despite featuring the music of Smash Mouth, still manages to seem very out of place, even if it is conveying a very appropriate message. Lot's of people didn't like the ending and i can see why, but the rest of the movie is pure comic brilliance.
If you buy this film, you won't be left short on laughs (unless you're on of those people who like all of their humour based on word-play and can spot the jokes in Shakespeare's work), but don't expect too much sophistication, this is more of a movie to sit down and watch of a night with a large bowl of popcorn and a few mates. Enjoy! I certainly did!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 5 September 2005
The film is undoubtely funny at times, but quite frankly I cannot understand what the fuss is all about.
My first impression of the film was that, because there were so many well known actors in it, the reason the film had been made was either:
1) to be shown in theatres at Christmas (good money), or
2) for charity's purposes (probably the ending made me think of that).
Many of the funny bits were so obvious that one could imagine what was going to happen long before it did (Hitler's car and the obvious impersonation at the WWII reunion, for example).
The one thing I really liked was the rich guests betting on almost everything (from the price asked by the hooker to the first man to throw up on a turbolent flight). That alone will justify my viewing the film again.
Rowan Atkinson's character did look Italian (including the dark 5 o'clock shadow and accent), and John Cleese's teeth were hilarious. Whoopy Goldberg did not even seem to be present, and Wayne Knight was practically a Newman driving an ambulance.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
My story's the same as everyone else - I saw the trailer, thought "Oh, for goodness' sake, it's just a remake of "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World; I'm steering clear", then caught the film by accident on the telly and was hooked.
The basic premise is simple - six keys, one locker, and a race for $2 million dollars. Mix into that some utterly hammy acting, Nazi Barbies, a cow tied to a hot-air balloon, and a woman intent on selling squirrels, and you've found yourself in the middle of Rat Race. And it's actually not bad. Rowan Atkinson's Italian, with an intentionally ridiculous accent and the line "Oh, a race! ...I hope I win" is frankly a remix of Mr Bean, whilst John Cleese's casino owner is classic Fawlty with extra teeth. But both those characters are classics, and stirred into this film, they become still funnier.
Every need is catered for, from those who like the disgusting (a human heart that lands up being chewed by a passing dog), to those who like the bizarre (betting on how long a maid can hang from a curtain rail). Even shameless pandering to the younger female population, myself included, can by found in the casting of the divine Breckin Meyer as a painfully cautious young lawyer determined not to go wrong.
Yes, the ending is sickeningly sentimental, and in any other film would be inexcusable. But, given the events of the film, no other ending was possible. It doesn't try to be original, and really, who cares? Because in the end, you've had two million laughs at some crazy stuff that couldn't happen, and you're in a good enough mood to excuse anything.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 29 July 2007
I was able to watch this film last night, thanks to Channel 4. Having read what it was about, I had a general idea of what I was in for. Knowing that Jerry Zucker had something to do with it, I thought it was worth giving it a shot.
I will agree that even though it doesn't match the great comedy heights of the likes of Airplane! It is worth a watch and I can guarantee you'll get some laughs out of it.
In response to the person who only watched this for 25 mins and then turned it off - how can you judge a film without watching it all the way through?
It's not going to win awards - but its worth a few hours of your life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3 stars is likely to be fairest rating in or to up this film, as it will cater for some people, and not for others. The reason being is because of its attempt to copy the 1960's hit "Its a Mad Mad Mad Mad World", which I feel stupid for not realising that, one day, it would have to be copied.
And so here we are.. Rat Race. The plot? Simple enough - a group of store customers are selected at random to take part in the chance of a lifetime - to participate in a race where the winner is the first to the red briefcase with $2 million dollars inside. Even a child could understand that!
However, it may not be the plot that lets this film down, as the characters have a say to. Rowan Atkinson, although a good actor, takes an incredibly annoyin role as an Italian man (or, at least he tries to be) who looks and behaves rather not amusingly, it has to be said. John Cleese, our multi millionare who created the race idea, has a better influence, but again has his moments where you believe he is totally out of character. Even the effects at times leave lots to be desired, whether it be a mechanical looking cow in a car, some bad helicopter crashing that can be done by shaking the camera.
But, their are some laugh out moments that up the mood a bit, whether it be the scene involving a spin-off Hitler speech, rather just so happeningly in the middle of a WW2 get-together, or a scene in which the actor who play's "Scotty" from Austin Powers see's his car climb up and antenna tower with no control.
It's easy to go too harsh with some comdeies - after all, humour is based purely on opinion, and in this instance, I felt the film-makers have tried too hard to creat a slapstick laugh-out-loud film with too many un-real events to make it believeable. But, if its on TV, it'll kill some time!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
For most of its running time, Jerry Zucker's Rat Race is a rather under-budgeted rehash of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World that at least is only half as long, with John Cleese's millionaire casino owner setting six randomly chosen punters on a race to a train station locker containing $2m for the betting edification of some super-rich clients. The cast isn't exactly star-studded - Cuba Gooding Jr., Whoopi Goldberg, Jon Lovitz, Seth Green and Rowan Atkinson doing an Italian version of his cartoonish Mr Bean at his most irritating are the best-known names - and there are too few good jokes, with many of those that are in the script clumsily delivered (Cleese is particularly poor). Yet once it finally gets going there's just enough mildly amusing moments to keep you watching, especially if you have a fondness for cow-inflicted violence or running gags with a transplant heart, and one staggering payoff at a Barbie Museum that is so jaw-dropping that it pretty much justifies the whole film's existence on its own. For the rest of the running time there are few surprises, but that one more than makes up for it...

There's a decent selection of extras on the UK DVD - interview with Jerry Zucker, self-congratulatory making of, outtakes, deleted scenes and trailer - but the audio phone interviews with the cast included as an a kind of audio commentary on the US DVD and other editions are missing.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 27 July 2003
Rat Race is a road movie that doesn't really bring anything new to the party that hasn't already been offered by Cannonball Run, Gumball Rally, Smokey And The Bandit and even Wacky Races. However, at the same time it manages to exude a charm that keeps the viewer entertained throughout. I even forgot that I was watching the latest instalment in a genre that was looking tired 20 years ago!
What makes Rat Race so surprisingly entertaining is the fact that neither the story or the cast take themselves too seriously. All involved are aware that there will be no Academy Award waiting for them at the end of the movie and therefore ham it up in tremendous style.
The cast is a mixture of old school British comedy actors (John Cleese (basically playing Las Vegas' answer to Basil Fawlty) and Rowan Atkinson (who thankfully is not in the movie a great amount - his Italian accent wears thin after 5 minutes and by the end of the movie he has resorted to a Mr Bean routine from 10 years ago - which wasn't even that funny then)), some serious Hollywood actors (Whoopi Goldberg, Jon Lovitz, Cuba Gooding Jr) and some of the rising young stars of Hollywood (Breckin Meyer, Amy Smart (who also starred together in Road Trip - they must really love their road movies!) and Seth Green who, as usual, is very subtle but probably provides the most laughs).
The story begins when 7 random people are brought together by Vegas casino/hotel owner John Cleese. He tells them about a bag containing $2 million that is locked in a locker in a New Mexico train station. He gives each of them a key to the locker and tells them to race - the first one to the locker wins the money. What the racers don't know is that the hotel owner has a group of businessmen, oil barons and the like watching their every move and placing bets on what they do next. What follows is a collection of mad events as the 7 racers aim to be first to the money. Some of the highlights along the way involve; a Jewish family who visit a Nazi museum thinking that it's a Barbie museum. In their bid to escape, they end up stealing Adolf Hitler's Mercedes-Benz...a helicopter chase...a hot air balloon with a cow as a passenger (has to be seen to be believed!)...and a bus full of "I Love Lucy" conventioneers (complete with catchphrases) with one passenger not really all that "she" seems!
Of course, by the end of the movie, all the characters have learnt a valuable lesson regarding money and relationships - but that's always the way with road movies, isn't it?
So overall, Rat Race is not the most original of films but it's one of the better movies in the wacky car chase genre. Certainly an entertaining way of spending 90 minutes and you'll get more than a few laughs along the way as well. Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 January 2008
This film isn't edgey, it doesn't use state-of-the-art special effects and that is part of what makes it a joy to watch. It isn't interested in bagging an oscar, just providing its audience with entertainment. There are laughs for all the family and humour for all! (the adult jokes will most likely pass right over the kiddies heads!) This film brings back the good old fashioned chase movie, revitalising it with a great cast such as Whoopi Goldberg (Ghost), John Cleese (Fawlty Towers) and Rowan Atkinson (Blackadder). It is a good watch and I would encourage you all to buy it.

WARNING! MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR PEOPLE WITH NO SENSE OF HUMOUR!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 July 2010
One of the best movies of all time, and it's one of those that you don't lose interest in, however many times you watch it. With an all-star cast going through "a once in a lifetime racing experience", travelling by rocket cars, rogue helicopters and bumping into an insane squirrel lady along the way, I think this is one of the best comedy movies in a long time. You have to buy it to find out and you are almost guaranteed that this movie will make you laugh =) Enjoy
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