Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013)
Directed by: Adam McKay
Synopsis: Everyone’s favorite egotistical, man-child, buffoon broadcaster is back but this time it’s the 80s and Ron Burgundy has to climb back up to the top of the ratings with the help of his faithful news-team in a new fangled 24-hours news station.
What ‘Works’: Like its predecessor, Burgundy and his idiot co-horts have some great banter and some good wacky quotable lines and they even get in some great crazy laugh-out-loud scenarios. Having James Marsden as Burgundy’s rival was a great choice (but he was underused in my opinion). Whereas the first Anchorman had the conflict being about having a female co-anchor and masochism in the workplace, this one dealt with 24-hour news channels and the breakdown of having actual real informative news and getting good ratings is the main concern is the conflict or topic of this sequel. The parts that dealt with the advent of skewed and ratings-only news of the modern 24-hour news was the parts I enjoyed best. For absolute hilarity though the best scene for me was the RV crash involving slo-mo, scorpions, bowling balls and Brick with an ice cream cone.
What ‘Doesn’t Work’: Oh boy. I’m probably going to be ostracized for my complaints but this sequel was too little too late as they say. Maybe it was the fact that I’m now 9 years older since the first film and my grumpy over-analyzing mid-thirties brain just didn’t appreciate the weak dick and fart jokes as much as the 20-somethings guffawing in the row in front of me. First of all it was 2 hours long! A half hour could’ve easily been cut. Brick Tamland (Steve Carell) is now dumber than ever and has a girl counterpart (played by Kristen Wiig) just as inept to society. They now reduced David Koechner’s Champ Kind’s character as a racist with homo-erotic leanings towards Burgundy. Paul Rudd’s Brian Fontana was basically just there with not too much to do. Christina Applegate was barely in it and when she was present it was just to be a foil to Burgundy. There was a slew of interesting cameos including Harrison Ford as an old broadcast mogul which to his credit actually was kinda funny. But getting back to the cameos, I feel if your comedy relies on the sights of a few dozen famous cameos playing crazy characters without saying anything funny, then I’m sorry, you’re basically employing a Mike Myer’s brand of comedy. In fact, without giving too much away, I’d safely say that they used Austin Powers as a model for how to generate cheap baseless laughs just based on “oh look! Its Kanye West, playing a MTV VJ! That’s just funny to see!” Remember when all three Austin Powers movies had the flying phallic symbol and it would cut to a different famous cameo looking at the sky saying a different euphemism for the phallic symbol? Anchorman 2 did practically the same thing with a specific scene being carbon copied from the original. Without saying anything effectively funny, the famous actor cameo would just be funny to the audience because they showed up. I’m sorry but that’s weak as shit for a hit comedy. I recently read the Rolling Stone article for Anchorman 2 and director Adam McKay actually says: “Comedy is built on surprise, so comedy sequels are hard. We didn’t want to repeat ourselves.” Then why did you do exactly the opposite? They even had to throw in Sex Panther again because everyone 9 years ago thought it was hysterical.
Overall: I don’t know, it just seems that my favorite two genres (horror and comedy) these days have greatly suffered and have taken a massive nose-dive in quality. Most of the hit comedies in recent years, I can argue, have not been as great as the comedies made in the 80s and earlier. They barely have the iconic scenes like the early National Lampoons movies did or any starring the original SNL actors. The original Anchorman was great and quotable and just thinking about him shirtless faking weight reps to impress Applegate still makes me laugh. I can barely remember anything in The Hangover or Ted. I sound like such an grumpy old-timer but part of me thinks the abundance of bad dick and fart jokes or mediocre sexual jokes is ruining comedy films. I would actually prefer they tone down the use of frat humor. What happened to characters like the Clark Griswolds or Peter Venkmans or Uncle Bucks who didn’t have to rely on sex or drugs or being a total idiot as a joke? I’d rather watch Groundhog Day a thousand times than watch another Seth Rogen movie where Seth Rogen plays Seth Rogen.
Fuck me, I guess I’m just getting old and cranky and longing for the old days. I guess I’d have to admit not hating Anchorman 2 but believe me, I won’t be revisiting it anytime soon. But I do have a major itch to see the original Anchorman now.
Score: 5 Chicken of the Caves (out of 10)