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Rat Race

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Rat Race

Starring: Cuba Gooding Jr., Seth Green
Director: Jerry Zucker
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 112 Minutes
Release Date: August 2001
Genres: Action, Comedy

*Also starring: Kathy Bates, Wayne Knight, Vince Vieluf, Breckin Meyer, Amy Smart, Whoopi Goldberg, Rowan Atkinson, John Cleese, Kathy Najimy, Jon Lovitz

Review by Susan Granger
2 stars out of 4

Like Stanley Kramer's "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World" (1963), this silly screwball comedy has a simple premise. Six unsuspecting people, along with their partners, are entered a bizarre "human rat race" devised by an eccentric Las Vegas casino owner (John Cleese) as a new kind of gambling game for his Venetian Hotel high-stakes rollers who can make bets on the outcome. Each contestant, chosen at random, is given a key to a locker in a train station in Silver City, New Mexico, containing a duffel bag filled with two million dollars. Whoever gets there first keeps the loot - and there are no rules. The competitors include Whoopi Goldberg and Lanai Chapman, a reunited birth-mother and ambitious daughter, who are sent over a cliff by frustrated Kathy Bates; con-artist brothers Seth Green and Vince Vieluf, who plot to sabotage the airport's radar system, thus forcing others to find slower transportation; Breckin Meyer and Amy Smart, who use a helicopter since it doesn't need the airport radar; Jon Lovitz and Kathy Najimy, who planned to see David Copperfield but wind up stealing Hitler's Mercedes limo; Rowan Atkinson, a narcoleptic Italian, who grabs a ride with ambulance driver Wayne Knight, who is transporting a heart to Texas; and Cuba Gooding Jr., a disgraced NFL ref who, stranded in the desert, hijacks a chartered bus filled with Lucille Ball impersonators. Writer Andy Breckman ("Sgt. Bilko") and director Jerry Zucker ("Airplane!") show no restraint, throwing in every gag imaginable to get a laugh. Unfortunately, several of them miss the mark due to bad timing, the schtick wears thin, and the conclusion is corny and contrived. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Rat Race" is an absurd, madcap 5 but it's not, as claimed, "the gambling experience of a lifetime.

Copyright 2001 Susan Granger

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