Movie Review: Rat Race (2001)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 2001 comedy starring Breckin Meyer and Amy Smart.

Synopsis: A group of casino guests are chosen at random to participate in a no-holds-barred race from Las Vegas to Silver City, New Mexico with the prize being $2 million in cash. When the airport is shut down because of technical issues, the contestants make the 500-mile-plus trip every other alternative way possible.


I'm actually not a huge fan of the comedy genre in general, mostly because most comedy films tend to be very predictable and not all that funny. However, every so often, I'll come across a film that is so funny, I can't help but watch it every time I have an opportunity to do so. And, that is the case with this movie.

The thing I find I really love about this film, which I recently watched again this past weekend, is the way the writers make full use of a very talented cast. This movie doesn't have a lead star. Instead, each of the characters, whether it's the lawyer/aspiring politician (Meyer), the Jewish family man (Jon Lovitz) or the disgraced referee (Cuba Gooding Jr.) has an equal opportunity to make you laugh and succeeds.

In addition to that, the film has so many funny and memorable minor characters. This includes a woman selling squirrels by the side of the road (Kathy Bates), a store clerk (Silas Weir Mitchell) who seeks to steal the money and a surprisingly funny assistant (Dave Thomas). The way they interact with the main stars and ultimately change the course of the film is really clever.

Also, unlike many other films from this genre, the film really isn't as predictable as I originally thought it would be the first time I watched it (about 15 years ago). Since, as I mentioned, there is no main star, there is no way of knowing who is going to end up with the money at the end.

And, just to be safe, the writers throw in a few little final twists at the very end just to keep things interesting. If more movies did that, I probably would watch more films from this genre.

Rat Race (Special Collector's Edition)

A Las Vegas casino owner desperate for a new "event" to wager on invents a human race for cash.

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Final Opinion

This is a film that is hilarious the first time you watch it and remains funny even if you see it more than once. If you have never seen it, I highly recommend it.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 01/04/2017, StevenHelmer
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