Anchorman 2: the Legend Continues Review
3/4 of a great movie.
I admit it right up front I never saw the first Anchorman. At the time I wasn’t doing reviews and honestly movies set in the 70’s give me a queasy feeling. Actually most period movies set in times when I was alive kind of bug me for some reason. One of my therapists once told me I have a fairly extreme case of narcissism (in case you couldn’t tell by reading this blog) and one of the symptoms is I tend to be trapped in the moment emotionally. There is no past or future only the everlasting now. This tends to make me not be very nostalgic and fairly dismissive of past eras (it also makes me suck at forward planning, but plans are for suckers). My opinion of the decades that I have been alive can be summed up as follows:
60’s = Smelly hippies.
70’s = Bad hair. Bad clothing. Bad music. Bad porn. Everyone smoked.
80’s = High School Hell, the Musical. More bad hair. Leg warmers. Dolphin shorts. Mostly bad music (with some really great music). Fear of dying of AIDS.
90’s = Grunge. Beavis and Butthead. Trial of the Century. Massive apathy.
00’s = Reality TV. My mom meets the internet. Paris Hilton. The lost decade. Hanging chads. Fear of dying in a terrorist attack.
10’s = Still in progress, but the prognosis is not great.
Bottom line doing a period film set anytime between 1959 and now is a sure path to me missing the film from a massive fear that I will be reminded of how much American culture sucks. I skipped the first film but have heard so much about it I decided I needed to see the sequel. Is it fair to judge a sequel without having seen the first one? To that question I answer with an emphatic maybe. On the one hand I never fell in love with the characters and could very easily be missing a bunch of the jokes; on the other hand all movies should stand on their own merits. Nothing I pay $12.50 for should have a prerequisite.
(As an aside, I’d like to offer a marketing tip to team at Paramount Pictures: if you are going to release a sequel to a film it might just behoove you to have the original available on NetFlix in the months prior. I seriously was looking to watch it but there’s no way I was going to buy it on DvD, have no interest in Hulu, and Amazon Prime can officially bite me. Had I been on the fence about seeing this film watching the first might well have pushed me over to the watch it side.)
Anyway, Anchorman 2. Very very funny for the most part, although the whole thing took a left turn in the last 20 minutes down a dark alley and got mugged and violated by the Ridiculous Fairy. I’ve seen this before in Will Ferrell movies; he has a comedy gem and is writing gold but in the last 1/3rd of the film he feels the pressure of the building comedy crescendo and ramps the story up to the next level, bursting through the stratosphere and leaving the audience desperately scrambling for oxygen.
I have no clever insights or amusing anecdotes sparked by this film, so let’s just get into the story itself shall we? Ron Burgandy (Will Ferrell-Zoolander, Megamind, Casa di mi Padre) and his now wife Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate-Married With Children, Up All Night, Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitters Dead) are now in NYC as TV newscasters. They get called upstairs by head anchorman Mack Tanner (Harrison Ford-Star Wars, Indiana Jones, 42 Kiss a Wookie image courtesy of the Star Wars T Shirt category), who promotes Veronica while at the same time firing Ron. This leads to natural conflict as Ron can’t let his ego go and leaves Veronica with is young son Walter (Judah Nelson-Portlandia, Adopting Terror, Major Crimes).
He ends up back in San Diego MC’ing the show at Seaworld (one of the funniest scenes IMO) when he is approached by Freddy Sharp (Dylan Baker-The Cell, Spiderman 2 and 3, Trick or Treat), a news producer for the newly formed all news network GNN. Ron signs on and they goes on a quest to find his old news crew and bring them back. He finds insane sportscaster Champ Kind (David Koechner-Thank you for Smoking, Get Smart, the Office) selling “Chicken of the Cave” at a fast food place, reporter Brian Fontana (Paul Rudd-Role Models, I Love You Man, the 40 Year Old Virgin) making a great living as a cat photographer, and psychotic introvert weatherman Brick Tamlan (Steve Carell-the Office, the 40 Year Old Virgin, Crazy, Stupid Love) at his own funeral. They each have a great piece of the collection montage and then go into a slow motion RV crash that had me holding my sides laughing.
Once in NY Ron gets the 2am time slot and has a bad run in with head anchorman Jack Lime (Dames Marsden-X-Men, Superman Returns, Enchanted). They bet on who gets the highest ratings that day. Ron and his crew work to put together a show and come up with all pro-America, dogs, and sports bloopers. He wins the bet and is skyrocketed to the top of the network. Meanwhile Ron is having trouble with his estranged wife and his relationship with his son.
At that point the story starts to unravel. Will Ferrell gets trapped in the “Wouldn’t it be funny if…” loop and ends up going blind, bottle feeding a baby shark, and gets into a massive melee with every news organization of the 80’s. While each one of them had their funny moments the story, which until then had felt fairly cohesive, devolved into a bunch of SNL skits.
Honestly very funny. There were a few moments when I felt pain from laughing so hard. Two stars. There isn’t a single actor in this film that I haven’t been a fan of at some point in the past. Even the bit characters had talent pouring out of them like a lot of stuff pouring out of something in a comical euphemism (I honestly drew a blank right there. I guess I can’t be brilliant every night). Two stars. The woman playing Linda Jackson (Meagan Good-Brick (ugh. Not my favorite movie for personal reasons), Think Like a Man, Stomp the Yard) was making me really wish I wasn’t so inept in the dating world, if you catch my drift. One star. I was also very impressed by Christina Applegate. Why hasn’t she done more since Married With Children? One star. I will give a bonus star for RV wreck and another one for the Chicken of the Cave scene. Two stars. Total: eight stars.
The black holes.
The movie got pretty stupid by the denouement in my opinion. One black hole. A lot of the film hinged on the audience having seen the first film and that is a mistake in most sequels. One black hole. I think that’s about it. Two black holes.
A grand total of six stars. A funny, fun movie. However nothing on here really demands a big screen (the RV wreck maybe but that’s it) so feel free to wait for the alternate media outlet of your choice. This film kind of screams “Quiet movie night with your significant other on the couch” (guess it’s a good thing I saw it in a theater then) so do it that way. Date movie? Sure. Nothing really off putting in here, none of these guys are super studs (maybe James Marsden, but his screen time is limited and his character is a d-bag) so you won’t suffer in comparison, and if you play your cards right you might be able to get her laughing so hard her clothes fall off (another case for movie night on the couch). Let me know how you managed to pull that off. Bathroom break? Honestly the final battle scene (yes, battle scene) could be totally missed (unless you have a burning passion for satire at the expense of 80’s news broadcasting) but that is kind of towards the end. The bottle feeding baby shark scene was pretty much entirely to give Ron a line later on in the film so I’d say that is your best bet.
Thanks for reading. I also saw 47 Ronin recently and will write that up soon. Follow me on Twitter (or don’t. Most people don’t so join the crowd) @Nerdkungfu. Comments on this film or my review can be left here and off topic questions or suggestions can be sent to email@example.com. I hope your Holidays are going super good, and in case I blow off the next few days have a Happy New Year (Is 2013 over yet?).