Several random people win a chance from a wealthy casino owner to run a race to Silver City New Mexico to be the first to make it to where a 2 million dollar cash prize is waiting for them. All that follows is a wild chase to New Mexico to try to beat the other contestants and take home their new mini fortune.
I know I say it often that I have mixed feelings about films after I see them, but nonetheless, my mixed feelings continue with the comical fun-ride of Rat Race. What I liked about this film was how well-presented it was. While it would have been easy to make the film a completely goofball, campy film like Inspector Gadget or the live action in Osmosis Jones, Director Jerry Zucker wisely placed a series of off the wall, or extraordinary characters into a potentially zany situation in a slightly surreal world. What do I mean? I'll explain...
(Possible Spoilers in this paragraph) Cuba Gooding Jr. plays a football referee who is well-know for making a really bad call in a costly game, who otherwise is basically your everyday ordinary guy. But place him in the situation of racing to acquire 2 million dollars and simply have him have a run-in with a bus full of Lucy Riccardo impersonators on their way to a I Love Lucy convention, and you have quite an interesting scenario. Then you take the straight man or Breckin Meyer's character who acts as a lawyer who has never done a wrong thing in his life (including gambling), and have him team up with a rambunctious helicopter pilot who does nothing but take chances, and again you have an interesting situation. And that's not to mention the mildly hyperactive Jon Lovitz playing a father taking his wife and kids to Vegas on vacation and trying to run the race, taking them with him against their will.
(Possible mild spoilers ahead as well) While this film could have been edited into a family film, some objectionable material is present, but surprisingly not as much as you might expect from a film like this these days. The worst being the brief glimpse of the side of a bare girl's chest, as she lifts up her shirt to expose a nipple piercing with a chain running from it to her side (resulting in a comical instance where the man being flashed on the highway is distracted and accidentally drives his car off the road). Also, John Cleese's wealthy casino owner character, Donald Sinclair, is shown exercising his obsession for gambling by betting, along with other people, on random, odd situations. In one instance, before we know it's a bet, we see Sinclair's deadpan, serious assistant take a hooker into his hotel room where he nervously describes what he wants them to do (includes "getting naked and shaving his buttocks" and several other odd, non-sexually related requests). As soon as she gives her "estimate," many people jump out from hiding places and announce a winner on who was closest in guessing her estimate ahead of time. Also, while Breckin's character Nick is checking out of his hotel, he is accused of watching a pornographic film 11 times (in which was probably viewed by someone of the bachelor's party he was attending). As he continues to deny he watched it, the receptionist describes what the film is about as involving "sexy soul sisters."
With the exclusion of such scenes and some obscenities, this film would have been even more enjoyable than I found it. The characters were likable, some of the situations were so outrageously funny, that it just made this film easily one of the funniest of the year. It's not exactly a family film, however, due to the objectionable material, but with it aside, it is a really fun film to see, especially with a group of friends (or even on a date). But the occasionally silly humor is definitely not for everyone.
Overall, I really enjoyed this film. Although the movie does suffer from some offensive material, I still like the movie even though such material did hinder my opinion of it. It would have benefited better if it cleaned itself up for a more family-oriented audience, but I definitely cannot recommend this to too many people for what it does include. Although I thought Rat Race was one of the funniest movies of the year, it is plagued with unnecessary vulgarities from time to time. Please read all the content details carefully.- John DiBiase (reviewed: 9/2/01)
** Disclaimer: All reviews are based solely on the opinions of the reviewer. Most reviews are rated on how the reviewer enjoyed the film overall, not on content. However, if the content really affects the reviewer's opinion of the film, it will definitely affect the reviewer's rating.
Disclaimer: All reviews are based solely on the opinions of the reviewer. Most reviews are rated on how the reviewer enjoyed the film overall, not exclusively on content. However, if the content really affects the reviewer's opinion and experience of the film, it will definitely affect the reviewer's overall rating.
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