Wednesday 17 April 2024

Prime Time: Ricky Stanicky (2024)

I saw the trailer for Ricky Stanicky a couple of months ago and I wasn’t happy. First of all, it looked dire. Second, I knew I would still eventually watch it. And so here we are, but was it as dire as the trailer made it out to be?

After a childhood incident that requires some quick creativity, three friends realise how much they can help themselves by making use of an imaginary friend, named Ricky Stanicky. Ricky can be blamed for many  misadventures, he can be used to get out of other obligations, and life is just better with him available. That is, of course, until things are complicated by people wanting to meet Ricky. With the alternative option (coming clean after many years) not really an option at all, our main characters hire an adult entertainer/actor (John Cena) they met in Atlantic City. 

Starring Zak Efron, Andrew Santino, and Jermaine Fowler as the friends who keep the secret of Ricky Stanicky between them, this is a fairly enjoyable and predictable comedy that would have really benefited from pushing into much more outrageous and bawdier territory (which people might have expected from director Peter Farrelly, although he has certainly settled in to helming much mellower fare over the past decade). I enjoyed the leads well enough, but there should have been someone else on the mix, someone to help add laughs and elevate every scene. Santino is clearly positioned here as the most comedic of the cast, setting aside Cena for the moment, but he just isn’t good enough.

I am surprised that this doesn’t feel like a bigger mess though, considering at least half a dozen writers were responsible for the screenplay. While it lacks any big laughs, and even skimps on the milder chuckles, it works well for most of the runtime due to the potential of the premise. There’s also a very enjoyable second act that shows “Ricky” stealing the show and living up to his legendary reputation.

Efron has always been someone I enjoy seeing onscreen, and he is fine here as the man who desperately hopes to get through a busy time without being caught out for his many lies. Santino is okay, but not as funny as he should be, and the same can be said of Fowler, who is given a plot strand that never feels fully developed, making you wonder why it was included anyway. Lex Scott Davis and Anja Savcic have a few good moments, playing the partners of Efron and Santino, respectively, and William H. Macy is fun as their boss (accompanied in one or two scenes by Jane Badler, playing his wife). Cena is the star though, given another chance to showcase his comedy chops, and he tries hard to make up for the weaknesses elsewhere in the script, whether oozing confidence and knowledge about subjects that Ricky should be fluent in or being shown performing his act onstage as “Rock-Hard Rod”. He’s certainly game to give anything a go, and I appreciate how well he transitioned from one incarnation of his personality to the next, sensing an opportunity to turn Ricky into his big break.

The enthusiasm and talent of Cena isn’t enough though. This isn’t a good movie, although it also isn’t the horrible car crash I thought it might be. It’s just average. I was moderately entertained while it was on, but I am never going to revisit it. At least it doesn’t end in a way that seems to set up any sequel opportunities. There should only ever be one Ricky Stanicky.


If you have enjoyed this, or any other, review on the blog then do consider the following ways to show your appreciation. A subscription/follow costs nothing.
It also costs nothing to like/subscribe to the YouTube channel attached to the podcast I am part of -
Or you may have a couple of quid to throw at me, in Ko-fi form -
Or Amazon is nice at this time of year - 


  1. I read a review on shortly after this came out and it sounded pretty lame so I never bothered to watch it on Prime and your review certainly doesn't change that feeling.

    1. Yeah, you're not missing out on anything major.