Since first coming to Irish public attention in 2001's 'Zoolander', Will Ferrell's popularity has risen by the year, thanks to a string of truly memorable characters and some show-stealing cameos - Frank the Tank in 'Old School', Buddy in 'Elf', Big Earl in 'Starsky & Hutch' and Chazz Rheinhold in 'The Wedding Crashers'. Towering above them all is his career-defining turn as newscaster Ron Burgundy in 'Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy', a character who deserves a sequel - or two.

'Talladega Nights...' reunites Ferrell with his 'Anchorman...' co-writer and director Adam McKay, but unlike their previous creation it doesn't warrant repeated viewings or follow-ups.

Having been born at 120mph in the back of his parents' muscle car, Southern boy Ricky Bobby (Ferrell) is obsessed with speed from an early age. While his amateur race driver father Reese (Cole) isn't around much as the boy grows up, his motto, "If you're not first, you're last", is one that Ricky takes to heart. Adulthood brings a career in Nascar - first in the pit and then on the track - fame, a beautiful wife and the unshakeable belief that Ricky Bobby will always be first. Then along comes French driver Jean Girrard (Cohen) and Ricky's life starts to fall apart.

Like 'Anchorman...', 'Talladega Nights...' has its share of lulls where the jokes don't hit the highs of some of their predecessors, but even on cruise control it's difficult to resist Ferrell. The biggest problem here is that, as a character, Ricky Bobby just isn't that interesting - a good ol' boy who's not too smart and lacks the subtlety (if that's the right word) of a character like Burgundy.

Compensating, however, is 'Ali G' star Sacha Baron Cohen as Ricky Bobby's French nemesis – any character that gets the lines: "My husband Gregory and I want what any couple wants. To retire to Stockholm and develop a currency for dogs and cats to use" has far more mileage in him.

Not as funny as 'Days of Thunder', but there are moments.

Harry Guerin