Rat Race (2001)
Main cast: Breckin Meyer (Nick Shaffer), Amy Smart (Tracy Faucet), Whoopi Goldberg (Vera Baker), Lanei Chapman (Merrill Jennings), Vince Vieluf (Blaine Cody), Seth Green (Duane Cody), Cuba Gooding Jr (Owen Templeton), Jon Lovitz (Randy Pear), Kathy Najimy (Bev Pear), Rowan Atkinson (Enrico Pollini), Dave Thomas (Grisham), and John Cleese (Donald Sinclair)
Director: Jerry Zucker
The best part about Rat Race is that it is brainless and it has me laughing almost non-stop for its entire one and a half hour (maybe longer) duration. Plus it has my beloved short guy Seth Green in it, and his ever-present bad hair is so good on me old eyes.
Do I need to give the plot? Rat Race is modeled after the old movie It's A Mad, Mad, Mad World, where all the movie does is to set a destination and have its various characters racing towards it. This time around, casino operator Donald Sinclair decides to spice up his business by offering an unique betting game for rich, bored people. He will conduct a real-life race, and said rich people can bet on the outcome. For his debut race, he gathers six people at random from the hotel and gives them the lowdown. If they can get to Silver City, New Mexico and open a locker with the key (each is provided a key), the bag in the locker containing two million dollars is theirs for the taking. But hurry, first come, first serve, and there's no leftovers for latecomers. Run, people, run.
Among the contestants are Nick Shaffer, a goody-goody two shoes who hitches a ride with Tracy, a pilot with psychotic tendencies. They both demonstrate the best way to get back at a cheating boyfriend (hers, just to make it clear). Then there's Enrico Pollini, an Italian tourist, who keeps sleeping when he's harried. Incidentally, Rowan Atkinson is just rehashing his Mr Bean role here, so no surprises.
Vera Baker is just reunited with the daughter she gave up for adoption years ago, and what better way to sweeten the reunion between kooky mother and hot-tempered daughter than two million bucks, right? Too bad they didn't buy a squirrel from Kathy Bates. Owen Templeton just wants to forget his blowing a coin flip for the football match he refereed recently, but angry cab drivers want vengeance. So what is he doing driving a bus filled with scary-looking Lucille Ball impersonators named Lucy, Lucy, Lucy, Lucy, Lucy, Lucy... (this can take all night)?
Brothers Dimbulb Blaine and Duane just want to get injured and claim rewards via a lawsuit, and they have more than ample chance to do that, what with hot air balloons and lactating flying cows zig-zagging their way. And finally, Randy Pear just wants to get the money and quit his job, but his overbearing wife Bev and their kids keep dragging him down. Maybe a visit to the Barbie Museum and the WW2 Veteran Meet will help.
Everybody here gives their best comedic performance, including the long rusty Goldberg. There are so many silly and just plain stupid scenes that tickle me pink. There's no logic in Rat Race, and giving an indepth analysis on plot and characters is just plain impossible. But I think Zucker sums it perfectly when he says to "put your brain under the seat and enjoy". Rat Race is a madcap fun movie, totally enjoyable.
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