Ricky Stanicky

Verdict: Ricky Stanicky proves '90s/'00s gross-out comedies aren't funny these days

John Cena plays an actor who is hired to play a fake friend named Ricky Stanicky in this adult comedy.

There’s Something About Mary co-director Peter Farrelly returns to his gross-out comedy roots with Ricky Stanicky.

The film stars Zac Efron, Jermaine Fowler and Andrew Santino as childhood friends Dean, Wes and JT. For years, they have blamed their misdeeds on Ricky Stanicky, a friend that doesn’t exist. The ploy worked well, so they kept the lie going.

Now as adults, they post on social media and communicate as Ricky to maintain the ruse and use him as an excuse to get out of events they don’t want to go to.

When one of their lies lands them in hot water, their loved ones insist upon meeting the illusive Ricky, so the trio hire Rock Hard Rod (John Cena), a down-and-out alcoholic actor, to play their fake friend during a family event.

If you think back to the Farrelly brothers’ earlier comedies like Dumb and Dumber and There’s Something About Mary, you will have a good idea of what to expect from Ricky Stanicky.

It feels like a comedy plucked right out of the 1990s or 2000s – it is gross-out, awkward and seriously cringe-worthy. While that style of comedy might have worked back then, tastes have changed and they don’t go down so well anymore.

There are some hilarious setpieces, like a sassy duck trying to drown a dog, but others do not work. The dialogue is also a mixed bag, with more misses than hits.

While Efron, Santino and Fowler are funny enough, Ricky Stanicky is Cena’s show. This further solidifies his status as a good comedic actor. He is not afraid to look stupid for the laugh and is so committed to the gag, even if it requires him to dress up like a schoolgirl like Britney Spears.

The standout sequence is a montage of Rock Hard Rod performing his pornographic songs in Atlantic City. He sings about masturbation to tracks like Karma Chameleon and White Wedding and it is by far the funniest moment in the movie.

So while Cena continues to work wonders as a comedic actor, the film as a whole feels like a throwback that would have been better received 20 to 30 years ago. You have to commend Farrelly for trying to bring that style back, but Ricky Stanicky simply proves that they’re not funny these days.

On Prime Video from Friday 8th March.

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