6.4/10
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499 user 102 critic

Rat Race (2001)

PG-13 | | Adventure, Comedy | 17 August 2001 (USA)
A Las Vegas casino magnate, determined to find a new avenue for wagering, sets up a race for money.

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3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Hotel Clerk
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Carrie Diamond ...
Casino Bartender
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Guy at Bar
Chris Myers ...
Kevin Frazier ...
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Herself
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Renée Lee ...
Witness in Crowd
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Cocktail Waitress (as Corinna Harney Jones)
Jane C. Walsh ...
Cocktail Waitress
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Merrill Jennings (as Lanai Chapman)
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Storyline

Donald P. Sinclair has placed six separate gold coins in different slot machines in his casino. The lucky six who find these coins discover an opportunity of a lifetime. The chance to own $2 million. Locked up in a locker in New Mexico, these six contestants must now race each other, to be the first to the cash. There are no rules in place and everything that could possibly happen, does. Whilst, behind the scenes, Sinclair's associates are placing their bets. Written by Film_Fan

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

563 miles. 9 people. $2 million. 1001 problems!

Genres:

Adventure | Comedy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexual references, crude humor, partial nudity and language | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

17 August 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rat Race  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$48,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$11,662,094 (USA) (17 August 2001)

Gross:

$56,607,223 (USA) (11 January 2002)
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Technical Specs

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2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jason Alexander was originally lined up to play Zack before his Seinfeld (1989) cast-mate Wayne Knight took the role. See more »

Goofs

Immediately after Vera and Merrill first meet, Merrill receives a phone call where she states that some merchandise must ship immediately to get in stores by Mother's Day. Since Mother's Day in the USA always falls in mid-May, we should conclude that this film takes place in April (or possibly early May). Yet this is inconsistent with the fact that Owen had refereed a NFL game just one week earlier, since the superbowl occurs at the end of January, and pre-season play does not start up until August. See more »

Quotes

Merrill: I think this is some kind of scam!
Vera Baker: Oh good, a scam! We'll do it!
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Crazy Credits

The start of the movie has caricatures of the main cast members walking around and interacting with the credits. See more »

Connections

Spoofs Yes, Giorgio (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

I Love Lucy
by Eliot Daniel & Harold Adamson
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User Reviews

 
Very funny and entertaining. You're bound to have a good time. *** (out of four)
18 September 2001 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

RAT RACE / (2001) *** (out of four

"Rat Race" revives a genre Hollywood has neglected since the sixties: the big event, ensemble chase comedy. Who better to breathe life into the subject than Jerry Zucker, the mastermind behind the "Naked Gun" films, and "Airplane," two of the most hilarious movies I have seen. After years of directing straight dramas, Zucker says he is thrilled to be back doing comedy. "It's very visual and there are lots of big visual stunts," Zucker explains in the film's production notes, "kind of a James Bond comedy in a way because there are so many sight gags."

Good comparison-"Race Race" is indeed a visual comedy. Its laugh-a-minute attitude works for the creative situations. The audience does not necessarily laugh at every single joke the movie throws, but the humor is timed well. "Rat Race" also contains a terrific cast and provides enough laughs to be worthy of at least one viewing.

John Cleese stars as the eccentric Las Vegas casino tycoon named Donald Sinclair. He wants to keep his wealthy, high stakes gamblers interested in his gambling techniques so he arranges a new, quasi-legal sporting event for them to bet on: a human rat race.

Sinclair randomly places six golden coins in several different slot machines. The customer service sends the winners to a large banquet room where the characters learn of a two million dollar jackpot resting in a duffel bag, inside a locker, within the city of Silver City, New Mexico-seven hundred miles away. The fist one there keeps all of the money, tax-free. "…the odds of winning are one and six…" explains Sinclair. "There's only one rule: there are no rules!" The players include a vast variety of different characters. There is Vera Baker (Whoopi Goldberg), who, after giving her child up for adoption as a baby, has decided to meet her daughter, Merrill (Lanai Chapman). Owen Temleton (Cuba Gooding, Jr.), an NFL coach who recently blew an important game, has come to the sin city to forget his horrendous mistake. Mr. Pollini (Rowan Akinson from "Bean") is an exuberantly cheerful, but narcoleptic, Italian fellow. Randy Pear (Jon Lovitz), and his family is vacationing when he slips off to play slots and wins the chance of a lifetime. The Cody brothers (Seth Green and Vince Vieluf), are first to cause trouble in any crowd. Finally, Nick (Breckin Meyer) a skeptical young lawyer-in-training, meets a charming young woman (Amy Smart), and encounters plenty of adventures with her.

"Rat Race" offers plenty of hit and miss humor. Much of it misses, but much of it hits the mark as well. The majority of the humor is physical and exaggerated. Very little offers sharp, witty satire on any part of culture. The film says something about greed in a zany sort of way, but for the most part this is just a two hour laugh riot, nothing more, nothing less.

However, this is a tricky script to write, and for the overall result to provide this much effective comic material, Andrew Breckman's ingenious script is indeed successful. It's not easy writing a comedy like this, and Breckman does indeed run into a few problems in the overcrowded plot. Even more difficult is creating a conclusion for a story like this. No matter how you end it, you are certain to displease at least some audience members. Breckman has found a way to have his cake and eat it too. I would never dream of revealing how this race concludes itself, but I will say it is not exceedingly satisfying, but sure does work over the obvious other possibilities.

"Rat Race" is one of the funniest movies of the year. It's energetic, irrelevant, and entertaining. You are sure to have a decent time.


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