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.
Year 2, Film #42
THE REVIEW: In case you didn’t hear the news, my school renamed their School of Communication the “Ron Burgundy School of Communication” for one day and not a minute more. In honor of this groundbreaking and never-before-done Emerson College also hosted an advanced screening of Ron Burgundy’s latest biographical film, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. Three screens were rented out in the theater and the line was out the door and going down Tremont Street, the longest line I’ve ever seen for an advanced screening. But the question you want answered is: how was the movie?
If you recall, I wasn’t that big of a fan of the original Anchorman film. Parts of it were certainly funny, but it’s not a film I go around quoting a lot of the time, although I have many friends that do. For me, Anchorman 2 was more or less the same experience: a few laughs strewn through — some quite uproarious laughter — but all-in-all not some comedic masterpiece that has you crying tears of joy.
Again, the star of the film was Brick Tamland (Steve Carell), and what I wrote for the first film, also applies here as well:
By far the best part of Anchorman was Brick. This is an example of a great character - he was funny, engaging, and above all, felt real. While there was by no means that same level of falseness and rigidity seen in the characters, the clear star of the cast was Carell. His performance of the kind but dim-witted weatherman helped the film and provided a tiny spark of hope for why you should watch it.
Most of the humor of this film is ridiculous in nature and borders on the absurd. Like Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) just responding with the word “black” to his new boss at GNN, Linda Jackson (Meagan Good), or the news team — Ron, Brick, Champ Kind (David Koechner), and Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) — just yelling and laughing sporadically. The reason I’m not a big fan of the film isn’t because I don’t like or appreciate this type of humor; it’s that I feel the execution most of the time is close, but no cigar. Coincidentally, the moments where I think it works and is done incredibly well is with Brick’s character. It is Brick’s character that seems to flow naturally with the story and all the steps it takes. A lot of the lines are improv — there’s enough material to cut a second, complete film with alternate jokes — and that’s very evident in Ron, Champ, and Brian’s characters. You can see the wheels turning in their head as they come up with jokes and witty rejoinders on the spot, and for me, that takes away from some of the humor. The material may be hilarious, but the process of getting there is just too transparent. With Brick, that problem is non-existent. Steve Carell really plays his character well and genuinely seems like one of the most dim-witted, yet kind, people on Earth. (Kristen Wiig also does delivers a knockout performance with Chani, Brick’s lover, in the film.)
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is just as the name implies: a continuation. It’s the same characters, same style of humor, same old-fashioned look. It’s like a new chapter in a novel. If you’ve liked what you read so far, chances are you’ll like the new chapter as well. The same is true with this film. For me, Anchorman 2 provided a decent number of laughs that kept me entertained throughout but didn’t have me falling out of my seat with Brick being at the forefront of most of those laughs, just like the original Anchorman. On the other side, I’ve also heard the opinions of two of my suitemates who also saw the film tonight. They are big fans of the original and thought Anchorman 2 was another “Whammy”, to use the words of Champ Kind. So take from that what you will. If you haven’t seen the original, my recommendation would be start with that, see what you think, and proceed from there.
And with that, I’ll leave you with Ron Burgundy’s words. “Don’t just have a good night, have an American night.”
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues opens in theaters on Wednesday, December 18, 2013.
THE RATING: 3 out of 5