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Gumball 3000 – Six Days in May (A Video Review)

Updated: Aug 13, 2021

Gumball 3000 - 6 Days in May

Gumball 3000 – 6 Days in May


Starring Adrien Brody, Rob Dyrdek, Jodie Kidd, Tony Hawk, Momo, Chris Eubank, Maximillian Cooper, Kim Schmitz, John Docherty, Gary Lutke, Ramdane Touhami, Mourad Mazouz, Ben James, Tim Masters, Big Black, Bentley Boys, Yorgo Tloupas, Shane Slevin, Alex Roy, Richie Warren, Cliff Pedgren, Karta Healy and The Cliffs.

Directed by Ruben Fleischer.

Distributed by Destroy Entertainment/Warner Strategic Marketing.  69 minutes.  Not Rated.

In May of 2004, I happened to be in Cannes, France, when the Gumball 3000 came to town.

The city was a circus already as the Cannes Film Festival was being prepared to start the next day.  Tourists, sunbathers, journalists and movie biz types were already dodging workers diligently trying to build and wire stages, put up huge signs and cut off private party rooms on the beach.

Celebs were behind closed doors (Jen and Brad!  Denzel!  Tom Hanks!  Cameron and Justin!  Orlando!  Quentin!  Michael Moore!) at the pricier hotels like the Carlton or encamped in the stately Hotel du Cap in nearby Cap d’Antibes.  It seemed like thousands of people crowded the streets looking to capture a passing star (or at least the topless sunbathers, who had mostly moved to the other side of the town to avoid the crowds.)  Then, suddenly, there was a long stream of pumped-up cars – ranging from pricy Lamborghinis and Ferraris to juiced-up Citroens – streaming up the Boulevard de Croisette.

Welcome to the finish line of the Gumball 3000.

The Gumball 3000 (formerly called the Gumball Rally) is an annual 3000 mile long-distance road race which takes place all over the world.  It isn’t built for speed – though many people do go as fast as they can.  It isn’t built for glory.  The winner is never really announced.  It’s more an endurance test.  That and a fun six-day road trip.

The rally was made into a bad Hollywood comedy in the 1976, called simply The Gumball Rally and starring such Carter-era favorites as Michael Sarrazin, Gary Busey, Nicholas Pryor and Colleen Camp – as well as a very young, then unknown Raul Julia.  The race survived that indignity and has continued, with the 2003 race across the United States turned into a documentary.

Europe (and Northern Africa) was home for the 2004 race, which has also been filmed for posterity.  Starting in Paris and hitting such cities as Madrid, Barcelona, Casablanca, Marrakech, Fez and Marabella before finishing up in Cannes.  Racers were a mix of normal car enthusiasts and celebrities, with actor Adrien Brody, model Jodie Kidd, skating star Tony Hawk and boxer Chris Eubank joining in the 2004 jaunt across Europe.

Fans of The Amazing Race will undoubtedly go for this breezy, light-hearted documentary.  It is full of cool cars, beautiful sights, attractive women and a vague sense of competition.  However, for a race, the interviews show the participants to be friendly and fraternal – the rally appears to be a community occasion rather than a hard-fought sporting race.  Not to say that they didn’t have to survive crashes and outfox the local police, but it was all for fun.

Music video director Ruben Fleischer has captured some terrific shots and obviously had great cooperation from the rallyists – they are often interviewed from the back or side seat as they are driving across the continent.  Gumball 3000 – Six Days in May is a nice reminder in this time of spoiled superstars and big-mouthed agents that sometimes sporting events are just supposed to be participated in to have fun.  (8/05)

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2005  All rights reserved. Posted: August 18, 2005.

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