Rat Race (2001) starring Breckin Meyer, Amy Smart, Whoopi Goldberg, Lanei Chapman, Vince Vieluf, Seth Green, Cuba Gooding Jr., Jon Lovitz, Kathy Najimy, Rowan Atkinson, John Cleese, Dave Thomas, Wayne Knight directed by Jerry Zucker Movie Review

Rat Race (2001)   3/53/53/53/53/5

John Cleese as Donald P. Sinclair in Rat Race

Lot of Bull Run

If I mention the name Jerry Zucker I hope some will recognize it as he was part of the team who gave us such greats as "Airplane!" and "The Naked Gun" movies. But whilst Zucker is probably best known for being part of the creative force behind spoof movies he has also done other things, he directed "Ghost" and also "Rat Race". Now whilst "Rat Race" is a comedy it is not a spoof movie, but it does use the same concept, that of throw as many jokes at it as possible and hopefully more will work than fail. And to be honest there is a lot of inspired comedy in "Rat Race" but it is out weighed by daft and forgettable humour which sadly dominates things.

Eccentric millionaire and casino owner Donald P. Sinclair (John Cleese) randomly selects 6 lucky individuals via gold coins in his slot machine to enter a race to Silvercreek where there is 2 million dollars in a locker for who ever gets there first. The only rule is that there are no rules and so these lucky contestants and their nearest and dearest must race across country by any means necessary whilst Sinclair and his rich cronies are laying bets on who will be first.

Breckin Meyer and Amy Smart in Rat Race

To put it simply "Rat Race" is a road trip movie where instead of just having one car of people we have several groups who all find themselves trying to get to Silvercreek where $2,000,000 awaits the winner. So whilst we get the set up of eccentric millionaire Donald P. Sinclair offering randomly selected people a chance of racing to get the money just so his rich cronies can gamble on who wins, it is all about the eventful journey of each group. It is a simple as that; there is no real twist except for an ending which gets dragged out too long.

What this means we get to watch the humorous exploits of each pairing be it narcoleptic Enrico Pollini as he hooks up with ambulance driver Zack Mallozzi to get to Silvercreek or husband and wife Randy and Beverly Pear along with their children trying to make it to Silvercreek first but end up at a Barbie museums, a Klaus Barbie museum. As I sad this is a movie where every minute contains numerous gags so we have humiliated Ref Owen Templeton ending up on a coach full of women going to an "I Love Lucy" convention whilst scamming brothers Duane and Blaine have to deal with an air balloon and cows. And I could go on because the jokes run thick and fast and never stop even when we get to the credits they are still going.

But here is the thing in this incessant barrage of humour the majority of it isn't that funny and jokes about being hit by a cow hanging from a hot air balloon is just daft. There are some great gags; the whole "I Love Lucy" convention coach is clever as is seeing Randy Pear ending up driving Hitler's car and offending a lot of people in the process. But these stand out gags are few and far between leaving you with far too much daftness which may appeal to younger audiences but does little for older ones.

What is for certain is that there is a lot of talent in "Rat Race" with the likes of Rowan Atkinson, Seth Green, Breckin Meyer and Amy Smart being just a few of a long list of well known names and faces. But to be honest there are only two performances which stand out and those are from Jon Lovitz and Cuba Gooding Jr and that is down to them delivering the funniest gags rather than anything they do themselves.

What this all boils down to is that "Rat Race" is entertaining but is a case that whilst you have 112 minutes of non stop humour there are only a handful of gags which end up being both funny and memorable. And sadly at 112 minutes it does drag on too long, in fact if it ended when it should have maybe it would have seemed funnier but being drawn out for another 10 minutes makes it feel just that, drawn out.