Lately, NASCAR has subsumed its good-ol'-boys traditions beneath corporate-friendly behavior and a rigid flag-and-family public image. Thus, this comedy from Adam McKay (Anchorman) appears to have come from behind and lapped ;em. Basically Nights is a silly comedy about top driver Ricky Bobby (Will Ferrell), who loses his mojo, especially when challenged by a new rival, Frenchman Jean Girard (Sacha Baron Cohen). But it also gleefully sends up plenty of NASCAR's cherished tenets, busting on the greeting-card piety (which includes contractually mandated sponsor acknowledgments); the dodge-and-cover of the color commentators; the homoeroticism of the man's world; the boozy hangers-on; and all the inspirational claptrap ("If you ain't first, youre last"). Nights also has more laughs than any comedy this summer, with a great pit crew of comedic actors backing up Ferrell. NASCAR fans will undoubtedly guffaw the loudest, but its also the rare film about stock-car racing to offer a gag about Camus.
Rating: 2.5 projectors