"Ricky Stanicky" Film Review

Ricky Stanicky (2024) - IMDb

"Ricky Stanicky" Film Review

Rating: 3/5

By: Nathaniel Simpson

    "Ricky Stanicky" is another one of those R-rated comedies that have a great idea, but the execution falls short. The plot, which revolves around three best friends who have invented a fake best friend named Ricky Stanicky to get out of trouble, is a hilarious concept that should have worked, especially due to stars like Zac Efron and John Cena being involved, but what it turns out to be is a messy comedy that tries too hard and falls short on numerous aspects. Is it fun while it lasts? Sure. But, you're not going to be considering this a great comedy any time soon. 

    Efron, Andrew Santino, and Jermaine Fowler play the three best friends named Dean, JT, and Wes, respectively. As the three of them got older, they started crafting lore around this fictional Ricky Stanicky character, even going as far as to informing and tricking their romantic partners into thinking this is a real person. But, they use him now to get away from their everyday lives and have fun, going to baseball games or a gambling trip. But, when their partners get suspicious about who this guy is they spend all their time with, the trio must come up with something. That is why they hire XXX-rated singer "Rock Hard" Rod (Cena) to play Stanicky, but they don't expect him to really get into the role and turn their lives upside down. 

    Cena really stands out here. He has seamlessly went from the wrestling world that he has spent most of his career with to the acting world, where he has had roles in action thrillers and rom-coms. Here, he really shows how he can be a hilarious actor in this film that just tries to be a good time. There are many times where Cena's character steals the show, and it makes me wonder if he is just acting like himself. Not the porn singer or the asshole-ish version of Ricky Stanicky, but someone just really funny and great to be around. This role seems like second nature to him. 

    Efron is decent in this role and really has some great lines throughout the movie. But, here's the problem with him in these type of movies - they're not sure what to do with him. Sure, he has been in some good comedies throughout his career, but if you watch his other films, such as "The Greatest Showman", "The Iron Claw", or even when he was first starting out in Disney Channel's "High School Musical", he has so much potential. I would even go as far as to say Efron is an amazing actor because I have seen what he is able to bring to the table. But, with comedies like these, they really put him on the back burner and don't want to expand his acting talents to show what he can fully do. They keep him in this comfortable place where they know it will work. He's funny, but not amazing like other performances he has given. 

    Santino and Fowler both have decent moments throughout (Fowler having more than Santino does as Fowler is great at playing the idiot of the friend group), but they don't really do anything that is memorable or worth writing home about. At the same time, William H. Macy is pretty fun here but it seems like he is sort of muddling his way through it, and doesn't do really anything to stand out and shine, like in other films he has been in. 

    I think the major problem with this movie is the story and direction from Peter Farrelly and his group of writers. The first hour runs really well. It shows what the conflict of the story is, and how this trio of real misfits band together to solve it together. They get it figured out, and it all goes smoothly. That should be the end of the movie after Rod leaves the Bris. But, they want to make it go on much longer than it needed to, adding in unnecessary events and unfunny plot lines that make the film drag out way too long and shouldn't have been included. It seems like they just needed more material to fill in almost an hour left, and it doesn't work as well as the first half at all. 

    They also just add in a bunch of gross-out humor or unfunny scenes. There are numerous times where the characters try to make a joke and it simply doesn't land. There are even some scenes that just feel like they're random ideas the filmmakers came up with and just threw into the film. It all feels so unjointed and consistent, and it really is unfortunate because you can tell the cast is trying their hardest to really keep the film together and make it work the best they can. This movie did garner a few laughs from me, sone that work way better than others, but they're few and far between at times. 

    Ricky Stanicky is the best friend they never had, as they repeat multiple times throughout the movie, but it is a movie that could have been so much better if it was possibly handled by someone else. The filmmakers had a fantastic idea, but don't know how to fully execute it perfectly. The cast does a decent job and they're the best thing about this movie, so if you are looking for an easy R-rated comedy with lovable actors, this is your jam. But, if you're looking for a great comedy that will make you laugh throughout and feel overjoyed at the end, maybe keep looking for another movie to watch.