Movie Review: Ricky Stanicky (2024)

Synopsis: After a Halloween prank ends in an accidental arson, friends Dean, Wes and JT leave a piece of evidence behind tying the crime to the fictional Ricky Stanicky and get away with it. Years later, the now-adult trio still keeps up the illusion of Stanicky being a real person, even going as far as updating Ricky's social media account, as a way of skipping out of things with their significant others. However, when their latest deception results in JT missing the birth of his son, the pressure is on to provide proof of Ricky's existence. The three desperate friends end up hiring an actor they met while in Atlantic City and soon discover their accomplice is a little too good at his job.

Who's in it? The movie stars Zac Efron, John Cena, William H. Macy, Andrew Santino and Jermaine Fowler.

Review: I had never heard of this movie until coming across it on Amazon Prime yesterday morning. It looked interesting and my wife and I both have enjoyed other John Cena films, so I wound up making a movie date with her for yesterday evening and gave it a chance.

It turned out to be a fun and entertaining movie.

I think the thing I enjoyed most about this film was it wasn't quite as predictable as I thought it would be. A big part of the reason for this was their fake Ricky Stanicky (Cena) was such a quirky character, it was unclear what he would end up doing next, whether it was performing a circumcision to showing up at the airport suffering alcohol withdrawals. 

On top of it, while there was no doubt Ricky's real identity, Rod Rimestead, would eventually come out, it was unclear who would be the one to out him. JT (Santino), for example, had a mother-in-law who suspected the men were lying.  Ricky/Rod also had people chasing after him while Dean's (Efron) girlfriend, Erin (Lex Scott Davis) was a news reporter looking for a story. In other words, the whole Ricky deception was a powder keg, and multiple people could light the fuse, including the local police, who might show up to arrest the guy they believe set a fire when he was younger.

I even counted Ricky/Rod himself in that since he chose to stick around, going to work at the same company as Dean and JT, and putting himself in a position where he could easily ruin the three friends if he wanted to. And the fact Dean was freaking out about that to the point he could also inadvertently give things away didn't help with that. And based on the reasons behind the deception, I wasn't so certain a big reveal would result in a happy ending.

My only real complaint is the movie does get unnecessarily raunchy at times, at least as far as some of the jokes are concerned. It wasn't a huge deal, but this was a movie that probably could have been a decent family film if it weren't for that comedy and the jokes didn't really add a whole lot to the plot.

Final Opinion: This is a surprisingly good movie with a great performance by Cena and a plot that has just enough twists and turns to keep it from getting too predictable. I wouldn't recommend watching it with young kids but it's worth taking the time to see it.

My Grade: A


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