The 2001 comedy film Rat Race, directed by Jerry Zucker, is a hilarious and chaotic tribute to the 1963 classic It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. The film features an ensemble cast of stars, such as Rowan Atkinson, Whoopi Goldberg, Cuba Gooding Jr., Jon Lovitz, Seth Green, Amy Smart, John Cleese, and many more. The film follows six teams of people who are randomly selected by a casino owner to participate in a race from Las Vegas to New Mexico, where a locker with $2 million awaits them. The catch is that the casino owner and his wealthy friends are betting on the outcome of the race, and they will do anything to make it more interesting and unpredictable.
A Tribute to a Smash Hit
One of the most memorable scenes in Rat Race is the ending, where all the teams converge at a charity concert by Smash Mouth, the popular rock band behind the hit song All Star. The song, which was released in 1999, became one of the most iconic songs of the late ’90s and early 2000s, appearing in movies like Shrek, Mystery Men, and Digimon: The Movie. The song is also known for being a meme on the internet, with countless remixes, parodies, and covers.
The choice of Smash Mouth as the band for the concert was not random. According to director Jerry Zucker, he wanted to pay homage to It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, which also ended with a big musical number featuring The Three Stooges. Zucker said that he wanted to find a modern equivalent of The Three Stooges, and he thought that Smash Mouth fit the bill. He also said that he liked their music and their sense of humor.
Zucker contacted Smash Mouth’s manager and asked if they would be interested in appearing in the film. The band agreed, and they flew to New Mexico to film the scene. They performed All Star and Then The Morning Comes for the crowd of extras and the cast members. They also interacted with some of the actors on stage, such as Breckin Meyer, who played Nick Schaffer, one of the racers. Meyer said that he was a fan of Smash Mouth and that he had a blast singing with them.
A Perfect Ending for a Crazy Race
The concert scene was not only a tribute to It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, but also a perfect ending for Rat Race. The film was full of absurd and outrageous situations that the racers encountered along the way, such as stealing Hitler’s car, driving a bus full of Lucille Ball impersonators, flying in a helicopter with a psycho pilot, and dropping a heart out of an ambulance. The concert scene was a way to wrap up all the madness and chaos in a fun and upbeat way.
The scene also had a message of generosity and kindness. The racers decided to donate all the money to the charity instead of keeping it for themselves. They realized that they had been manipulated by the casino owner and that they had lost sight of what really mattered. They also learned to appreciate each other and their differences. The concert scene showed that they had grown as characters and that they had found happiness in giving rather than receiving.
The concert scene was also a way to connect with the audience. Smash Mouth’s All Star was a song that many people knew and loved at the time. It was a song that celebrated individuality and optimism. It was a song that made people feel good and smile. By having the racers sing along with Smash Mouth on stage, the film invited the audience to join them in their joy and celebration. It was a way to end the film on a high note and leave the audience with a positive feeling.
A Cult Classic That Still Rocks
Rat Race was not a huge success at the box office when it was released in 2001. It received mixed reviews from critics and audiences alike. Some praised it for its humor and energy, while others criticized it for its silliness and lack of originality. However, over time, the film has gained a cult following among fans who appreciate its absurdity and fun. Many people consider it one of their favorite comedies and watch it repeatedly.
The concert scene is one of the reasons why Rat Race has endured as a cult classic. It is a scene that still makes people laugh and sing along with Smash Mouth. It is a scene that still captures the spirit of Rat Race: a crazy adventure full of surprises and laughs.