Ricky Stanicky (2024) | Review

 2024. R. 113 mins. Directed by Peter Farrelly

Three childhood best friends; Dean (Zac Efron), JT (Andrew Santino) and Wes (Jermaine Fowler) pull a prank on Halloween that doesn't go as planned. To get out of trouble they create an imaginary kid named Ricky Stanicky that takes the fall for their wrongdoings. Over the next twenty years, the boys use Ricky as a scapegoat anytime they do something wrong or want to get out of something. When their families want to invite Ricky to a party the guys must figure out whether to tell the truth or do something drastic. They end up going the drastic route by hiring an entertainer they met in Atlantic City named Rod (John Cena), who just so happens to also be a trained actor.

Director Peter Farrelly has had a long history of making comedies. Some have been hilarious, like Dumb and Dumber and There's Something About Mary, while others have missed the mark entirely, like The Heartbreak Kid and Dumber and Dumber To. Ricky Stanicky falls somewhere in the middle. It is quite funny at times, mostly thanks to John Cena's committed performance, but it never feels like it has much going for it outside of some decent performances.

The biggest problem here is the storyline is ridiculous from the start. These guys create this imaginary person and somehow are able to keep up the charade for 20 years with barely anybody questioning it. Once John Cena comes in to play the character of Ricky Stanicky things do get more exciting. However, it never feels like there are consequences for the main characters. It is very predictable how things are going to play out, but everything feels too anti-climactic, and it all ends up being wrapped up a little too neatly.

A bright spot for the movie, like I've mentioned, is John Cena. He is completely committed to this character, and he goes all out having a ball in this performance. The rest of the cast is good, with the three main guys all doing a solid job. Zac Efron is good as the straight man of the group while Andrew Santino provides some funny moments. Jermaine Fowler is a scene stealer, rattling off numerous one-liners that hit more than miss. Everyone else here is mostly underused, including a very game, William H. Macy, but they do fine with what they are given.

Ricky Stanicky has a dumb setup that overstays its welcome after not too long. While there are moments that provide genuine laughs and John Cena gives a great performance, there isn't much else here. The pacing of the story feels off and everything continually seems to work out for the main characters even though it shouldn't. There was some potential here, but ultimately, it's a swing and a miss.

Rating: 4.5/10