Ricky Stanicky Review

Ricky Stanicky
Three friends form a lifelong bond when they invent Ricky Stanicky, a fake friend who becomes their get-out-of-anything-free card. One day, they hire Rod (John Cena), an Atlantic City performer, to temporarily assume the role of Ricky — but Rod has no intention of giving Ricky up.

by Barry Levitt |
Published on
Release Date:

07 Mar 2024

Original Title:

Ricky Stanicky

Sometimes, a film can set expectations perfectly. At the beginning of Peter Farrelly’s Ricky Stanicky, a kid explains his Halloween costume: “I’m a dog with a boner,” he tells his friends, using a red Sharpie to simulate dog genitalia. He receives an almost imperceptibly mild laugh from his friend. That’s the strongest kind of reaction you can expect from every joke in Ricky Stanicky: desperate variations of dick jokes that warrant more groans than actual laughs.

Ricky Stanicky

Dean (Zac Efron), JT (Andrew Santino), and Wes (Jermaine Fowler) are friends who have used  fake friend Ricky Stanicky to get out of everything, from dangerous situations to bridal showers. There’s a fun concept here — a lifelong lie of a made-up friend has become all too real — but the film does nothing with it, moving from one purposeless plot machination to the next.

Fun one-liners turn into multi-minute bits that go nowhere.

Barely anything of note happens in this film, an impressive feat for a two-hour movie. It’s exhausting. Character development doesn’t exist, and jokes that could be fun one-liners turn into multi-minute bits that go nowhere except the most predictable and boring places.

The only bright spot here is John Cena as the eponymous Ricky, trying his very best to create something out of nothing. Even his extremely valiant effort as Rod/Ricky — there’s nothing he won’t do to try for a laugh, which is commendable — isn’t enough to add anything worthwhile. He does, admittedly, get the best joke in the movie, which happens about two minutes before the credits roll.

It’s supposed to be funny, but all the excessively repetitive puerile jokes and stunningly dull third act make it feel like you’re watching a duck try to drown a dog. That’s not a clumsy metaphor, to be clear — it’s something that actually happens for some inexplicable reason in Ricky Stanicky.

Despite John Cena’s best efforts, Ricky Stanicky is a comedy that delivers nothing but tedium, wasting a clever idea by repeating the same jokes over and over.
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