Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013) Review (PG-13)
What’s going to haunt me about ‘Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues’ is that after the movie stopped with about 20 minutes still left on the reel… I mean literally came to a stop with the entire screen turning a bright green… no sound, no movie… right after Will Farrell proclaims that he can no longer masturbate (sorry)… because he’s blind ( not the other way around, oddly enough)…. I had about 10 minutes to decide whether or not to go to the Carmike front office and get my $7.25 refunded. The offer was there. Oh, what might have been. Instead, I stuck it out and stayed to the bitter end. I especially enjoyed the fact that before returning to the point where it stopped, the idiot working the computer (?) fast forwarded from the beginning of the film to that point, then proceeded to fast forward through the end of the movie, so that everyone could see how the movie ended before we got there. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, it did not detract AT ALL from my lack of enjoyment of the film.
I didn’t expect much out of the Ron Burgandy sequel and that’s exactly what I got. Not much. This film, consistent to the one that spawned this half hearted effort, is nothing but an extremely loosely connected collection of skits revolving around mostly the state of broadcast journalism. Granted, there were some laughs. I laughed a few times in the first half hour despite the fact that most or all of the jokes that were used in the film had been done before elsewhere. Many of them had even been used by Ferrell before on Saturday Night Live to better effect. I wanted to laugh at this. I liked the original movie. I like Will Ferrell. I like Steve Carell. I like most of the people that appeared onscreen, so there was a large amount of built in goodwill towards Anchorman 2; the film just didn’t have much to offer.
Where the previous chapter ending with 70s newsman Ron Burgandy ‘on top’, naturally, the writers (Ferrell and director Adam McKay) had to stir up some conflict by taking him down a few notches. So, Burgandy is fired by his boss (Harrison Ford in what becomes a bizarre cameo role) and his wife, Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) is promoted to network anchor. This is more than chauvinist can handle, so he runs out on her and his son becoming a drunken announcer at Seaworld. He is soon sought out by an old friend to become part of the burgeoning Global News Network, a cable news station dedicated to 24 hours of news broadcasting, unheard of and unprecedented at the time. Ron agrees to take part, because he both needs a job and needs to do what he was placed on Earth to do: to read the news on air… So, the first part of the film is Ron Burgandy ‘getting the band back together. Like I said, the film doesn’t really have a story arc; it’s just a series of loosely related vignettes. The movie works towards nothing and ends up just trying to come up with something ‘outrageous’ at the end to try and end with a bang. It does have some laughs at the end, mostly because of who is involved (there are a number of somewhat surprising cameos), but it feels like they were just trying to re-enact a scene from the original film that people thought was a highlight. There are a few scenes that are funny in this sequel, but for an extremely long stretch in the film, there was barely a chuckle. I chuckled a few times during that middle stretch, but found that I was the only person doing so in a screening that was less than half full. The best scene for me, apart from the cameo filled ending, there was a scene involving an RV crash that was funny. The film also tries to get as much mileage out of Burgandy’s inability to function normally around black people. Most of the bits in the film never rise above late night TV pun levels.
I’ve heard many critics saying that the film is a bit of a letdown (Anchorman was a moderately successful critical success), but Carell stands out. I would disagree with that. I think everyone in this film, much like the RV, put themselves in Cruise Control and took the cash. It’s predictable at most every turn, except when Ferrell and McKay just throw something off the wall at the audience to try to get a cheap laugh as when Harrison Ford turns into a Were-Hyena… Or a minotaur turns up… or Burgandy bottle feeds a shark. it makes no sense most of the time and many of the laughs were probably accompanied by “Whut?” That’s ‘what’ with a ‘u’, because I’m down wit’ it. Anyway, this should have been a DVD film for me instead of a big screen film. it was a hack job of a sequel and I hope this ends here if this is the best that they can manage. It does have some laughs, though, and that’s really all of the criteria that a comedy has to meet. And I liked the dog, so…