Ricky Stanicky movie poster

Ricky Stanicky

In theaters March 7, 2024

Rated

108 minutes

Directed by:

Starring: , ,

Amazon’s newest streaming comedy Ricky Stanicky is the perfect example of what happens when an idea fit for a Saturday Night Live skit is fleshed out into a bloated movie. This is no Wayne’s World or The Blues Brothers – think more A Night at the Roxbury or, even worse, It’s Pat.

Ricky Stanicky starts off strong with a flashback to when best friends Dean, JT, and Wes were children and a Halloween trick (not treat) goes both hilariously and tragically wrong. In an attempt to distract attention away from the trio, they leave evidence at the scene blaming Ricky Stanicky. And and so is born an imaginary friend that the three friends use throughout their lives when they want to escape blame or take a guy’s trip together. As they call Ricky: the “best friend they never had.”

Through the years, Dean (Zac Efron), JT (Andrew Santino), and Wes (Jermaine Fowler) got crafty and learned new ways to keep track of their deceit, including the use of a burn book and on social media, but it all comes apart during a trip to Atlantic City that the guys take in lieu of attending JT’s baby shower. Fibbing to their respective partners that they’re headed to Albany to keep Ricky company as he faces cancer (for the second time), the guys get caught in their lie when JT’s wife, Susan (Anja Savcic), goes into labor. Back home, they choose to double down on their lies and end up having to invite Ricky to JT’s son’s bris.

Lucky, or unlucky for the world’s least likable trifecta, while they cavort around AC, they meet Rod (John Cena), an unemployed actor and X-rated rock ‘n’ roll impersonator who performs “jizz jams”. In an attempt to keep their lie going, the three hire Rod to play Ricky for the one special day. That one day becomes multple days and with each day that passes, the guys have more to lose.

Cena, who started his career in the WWE and transitioned to films in the early 2000’s with little success, caught a big break after a small role in Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck. That role led to starring roles in a variety of comedies along with major franchises like the Fast and the Furious films and DC films as Peacemaker – Cena even appeared briefly in last year’s blockbuster, Barbie as Mermaid Ken. It’s these recent successes that makes his turn in Ricky Stanicky that much more disappointing. Cena is the king of charm and one of the nicest guys in Hollywood, and honestly deserves better, but with a lackluster and uneven script, he can’t carry the film alone. Thankfully, he at least has, William H Macy starring as Dean and JT’s boss, Ted Summerhayes, who plays the straight man and is responsible for the few laughs the film offers.

Ultimately the blame falls on director Peter Farrelly. With classic comedies Dumb and Dumber and There’s Something Like Mary under his belt, Ricky Stanicky ends up resembling something closer to the little seen Dumb and Dumber To. Reuniting with Zac Efron – the two worked together on the far better 2022’s The Greatest Beer Run Ever – Farrelly fails to pull out a strong performance from the one time Wildcat basketball player who follows up a career performance in The Iron Claw with what can only be described as a phoned in performance. While Efron and his on-screen wife, Erin (Lex Scott Davis), play off each other well, he and his best friends, JT (Andrew Stanton) and Wes (Jermaine Fowler) exhibit zero chemistry. So much so that it makes one wonder if they ever screen tested with one another. Efron isn’t solely to blame though as Fowler adds nothing to an underdeveloped character and Santino’s is simply unlikable. There actually isn’t much to like about any of the trio as the six screenwriters(!) behind this debacle never give viewers a reason to root for them.

Save yourself nearly two hours and watch the two-minute trailer as it manages to not only spoil nearly the entire plot, but also the funniest scenes.

Ricky Stanicky is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: Mark Eaton
Mark is an entertainment junkie, spending much of his leisure time watching movies, TV, or listening to any and all genres of music. Most evenings, after finishing a day of work and hanging with his wife and kids, Mark can be found in an eternal battle with his DVR, trying to clear it before another 5-6 hours of shows are recorded the next day. Still reeling from his unpaid gig for the Detroit News where he was fired for being too cruel with his American Idol recaps, Mark is thrilled to be sharing his wicked sense of humor with Movie Reelists.

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