Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013)
Director: Adam McKay
Starring: Will Ferrell; Christina Applegate; Dylan Baker; Meagan Good; David Koechner; James Marsden; Paul Rudd, Steve Carell.
Plot: With the 70s behind him, San Diego’s top rated newsman, Ron Burgundy, returns to take New York’s first 24-hour news channel by storm.
The world waited nearly a decade for the follow up to the hugely successful pop culture phenomenon that was Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004), yet even with a reunited cast of comedy legends Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues left a distinctly bitter taste on the tongue courtesy of a recipe filled with unintelligent and borderline insulting low-brow humour that was unbecoming of its cast, crew, and most importantly its original incarnation.
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues suffers from an incredibly unfunny script that couldn’t even come to replicate the ridiculousness of its predecessor. A ‘lady-killer’ pun regarding OJ Simpson is just one of many low-brow jokes, and the inclusion of a Seaworld product placement was poorly timed to say the least. Throughout the movie, jokes are made about suicide and rape, too, which seems way below the belt for any film in the modern age, especially when presented in such a juvenile and a seemingly ill-informed manner. The social commentary the movie offers, specifically about women of colour in the 80s news room, fails to raise the film from its depths courtesy of the controversial jokes under which such themes are explored. One particular example that comes to mind is Ferrell’s character Burgundy impersonating his racist fantasy version of Black people around a dinner table filled with Black guests. It’s not offering an interesting commentary at this point, and it’s not at all funny. Even the movie’s attempted commentary on contemporary network news, which does seem like an interesting idea and anchors much of the story’s second act, is flattened under the weight of the above mentioned stupidity. Ultimately, this all comes together to present a central character in Burgundy that you don’t want to see succeed, especially not when his character is used to make ‘jokes’ regarding suicide, race and disability (in this case blindness). In fact, the only part of the story that survived the poor quality of the jokes was the mini-love-story between Steve Carell’s Brick Tamland and Kristen Wiig’s Chani Lastname, a strand that actually managed to be borderline sweet and adorable courtesy of each character’s innocent lack of intelligence.
Perhaps the saving grace of an otherwise almost un-watchable movie was the revisiting of the famed battle scene from Anchorman 1, this time with even more significant cameos and even more over-the-top action. The scene, which featured the likes of Will Smith, Harrison Ford, Tina Fey and Kanye West, was perhaps the only example the film had of going above and beyond the original in any way, and was clearly the most laugh out loud of all of the movie’s sequences. It was evidence of Ferrell’s drawing power among his peers in Hollywood and the amazing work of a casting director who managed to fill every scene with an influential star name. Removed from that particularly popular list of names was Meagan Good who, despite playing a prominent role, was not as well known as the rest of the cast nor of the level of many of her contemporaries, with particular sequences of fits of rage and anger seemingly cut from between laughing fits or otherwise less aggressive circumstances behind the scenes that made her character less believable and the movie seem even more ridiculous in a less purposeful way. It was a poor performance that worked to prove the talents of the rest of the movie’s undoubtedly talented cast but also worked to worsen the reception of the movie.
Generally, this Anchorman 2 felt like a Will Ferrell mesh-up, with the so-called ‘best bits’ from his career amplified in this film with significantly less funny results; he sang as he did in Step Brothers and ice skated like in Blades of Glory, for example. Therefore, unlike in the original Anchorman, both Ferrell and the movie as a whole felt old and unoriginal. Even with the Oscar nominated and hugely talented comedy director Adam McKay at the helm, the movie felt like an ode to Ferrell, which may not have been such a bad thing with a different script or under different circumstances, but seemed to present the legendary comedic actor as being a one trick pony at best and ultimately damaged the film.
The biggest task Anchorman 2 had to overcome was the huge expectations of its audience who had waited nearly 10 years for the movie’s release, and despite a great cast and a revisiting of some of the original’s jokes and beloved characters, it simply failed to surpass what was created in 2004 and was a disappointment when considered a stand-alone too. In fact, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues was so bad that it’d probably be best to place this sequel in the pile of terrible franchise entries alongside the likes of ‘Star Wars: Attack of the Clones’, and I’d even go so far as to claim that this made The Hangover Part III look like a masterpiece. Ranking with a score only because of its funny battle scene, Brick Tamland story-strand and its relatively okay technical accomplishments, Anchorman 2 gets a…