I feel like I’m heading off to a bit of a low-brow start this weekend with movie watching, but hey, it’s that time of year where Rachel and I watch movies together, so we’re going through films that are light with no scary moments. That’s a pretty tall order to ask of any film, but Rat Race manages to fit the bill.
At a Las Vegas casino, six people win special gold coins in their poker machines. They take these gold coins to the counter, and are told that they are invited to a special reception upstairs. There, the casino manager (played by an artificially buck-toothed John Cleese) invites them to take place in a race – $2 million in cash to be won by the person who first makes it to Silver City, New Mexico.
What the racers don’t know is that the casino manager is offering his high-stakes punters a chance to bet on real people in this race, thus ensuring he makes plenty out of the deal.
This is, of course, all the set-up that is required for the rest of the movie, which involves the racers going across country by car, bus, helicopter, rocket car, etc. etc. with increasingly wilder antics happening as they go along.
This is one of those films that if I were to describe a single moment of the film to you, it would sound pretty lame and silly. However, when you pile these scenes one after the other for an hour and three quarters, everything starts to seem giggle-worthy. (This is, of course, the pattern that was laid down by the original inspiration for this film, It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, which takes the chase-after-money-caper to even new heights by dragging the film out for a mind-boggling two and a half hours.)
This is not the kind of film that will ever be labelled “critically acclaimed”, but for enthusiastic comedy-making, these guys try hard and mostly succeed.
4 out of 5.