film reel image

film reel image

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues 2013 * * 1/2 Stars

anchorman 2Director: Adam McKay
Year: 2013
Rated PG-13
Rating: * * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, Christina Applegate

I gotta admit, Will Ferrell is a pretty funny guy. I get his brand of humor. He's pretty good at playing a jerk, a doofus, a complete dodo bird if you will. He's silly, he's stupid funny but he does it better than anyone in the business. Some of his films are good (Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby), some are bad (Step Brothers is a real dud), some are so-so (Semi-Pro comes to mind), and some are just plain awful (Bewitched is an abomination). But no matter what, you'll always get the same old Will Ferrell. Whether he's on screen or off, he's always in character and he doesn't take himself seriously at all. Not to completely judge him, but his routine at times can get a little stale. However, his sequel to 2004's Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (titled Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues) showed me that at least he still has a little more comic bite in him.

You see, the first Anchorman (which I believe, catapulted Willie boy into super stardom) became a national phenomenon. It had comedy cult classic written all over it. Touted as one of the most quotable movies ever, this thing became a distance runner and gained even more popularity after its release on DVD. It obviously made sense to do a sequel. My question is, why did it take so long for the cast and crew to figure that one out? Now I for one however, wasn't a huge fan of 2004's festering sophomoric romp like everyone else was. I mean I thought it was amusing to a degree but it didn't blow me away. But for all you Burgundy lovers out there, here's the bottom line: if you liked the first Anchorman, you'll probably dig this new installment as well. Let me rephrase that, if you liked parts of the first Anchorman, you'll probably get a kick out of what's on screen. Basically this is hit-or-miss comedy people. When "2" hits, it hits big. You'll laugh your darn butt off. When it misses, it misses in epic doses. Some scenes are brutally annoying (especially with Steve Carell's Brick character) and by the time things wrap up, the whole novelty of the fantasy element (another stand off between all the news companies is an example of this and it drags a bit) coupled with a few too many one-liners, kinda wears out its welcome. Ultimately, I'm reluctant to recommend Anchorman 2. It's extremely funny in certain segments but meaningless and grating in others. If you choose to see it, wait till you get the Blu-ray so you can jump to the best parts. I do that now and again with something like 2005's The 40-Year-Old Virgin.

As a December release that got bumped around in terms of starting dates, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues begins kinda where the first one left off. Overly confident newscaster Ron Burgundy (played by Will "I'm a big galoot" Ferrell) and his loving wife Veronica (Christina Applegate), now have a son and live in New York City. They are teamed up for a nightly news show that is manned by famous anchor Mack Tannen (a weak cameo by Harrison Ford and it's not his fault). Tannen keeps Veronica but decides to fire Burgundy because he considers him the absolute worst news anchor he's ever been associated with. Upon getting this news, Ronnie overreacts by wrecking his marriage, moving back to San Diego and getting loaded while being an MC at Sea World. After he gets fired from that job (and tries to commit suicide by way of hanging), Burgundy gets an ulikely offer to go back to the Big Apple provided that he brings his goofy crew of misfits with him (Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, and "whammy" sportscaster Champ Kind played by David Koechner). We're talking a 24 hour, world news station called GNN (Global News Network). "2" then starts to parlay what worked so well the first time around. It heeds to the same blueprint as most Will Ferrell vehicles in terms of structure and tumultuous amounts of "so stupid its funny" moments (it's the same director (Adam McKay) who directs all of his films so go figure).

Despite its given flaws that I knew would exist, there were still a lot things I embraced about this new Anchorman. Since the film took place in the late 70's and early 80's, the bubble gum soundtrack songs were totally dead on. And I like the fact that "2" takes a lot of the gags from the 2004 outing and kicks them up a notch this time around (this sequel is bigger, badder, and more over the top. That doesn't however, mean it's great though). I also totally liked almost all of the four main characters and the actors who played them (it's good to see Paul Rudd get back in the groove again. His Brian Fantana just cracks me up). Finally, I knew that there would be a lot of cameos this time around and I was right. Some of them were interesting (John C. Reilly as Stonewall's Jackson Ghost was a hoot), a few of them didn't really register (Harrison Ford and Will Smith were underutilized), and I almost forgot about Liam Neeson showing up (huh?).

In the end though, the movie's relenting fantasy element (scorpions and bowling balls in a van with no one driving it, what??) dares you to laugh heartily. When your not laughing, you're just worn out by "2's" freewheeling disregard for movie safety. That's another way of saying that this is a film without any rules or regulated flow. Like I mentioned earlier, some of the jokes are stupendously funny while others just flop and die like a floundering trout gasping for air (or if you've already seen "2," a snaggletoothed shark gasping for air ha!). Now if the filmmakers decide to make a 3rd Anchorman (and they just might), bravo to them. I'm sure that it will probably pull in a buck or two. Let's hope that everyone involved (namely the director and screenwriters) will whip up a tighter more consistently funny script this time around. Then this "legend" can surely or should I say, maybe "continue."

Written by Jesse Burleson

No comments:

Post a Comment