Dr. Donna Copeland’s
Adam McKay, the director and co-writer with Will Ferrell of this production, has a long history of writing for TV’s Saturday Night Live, and Anchorman 2 in many respects is a series of sketches similar to the SNL skits. It does have a central theme of how Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) rises up from the ashes of his career to become a hit, then through hubris almost loses all the people around him he loves.
When he is fired as an anchor and humiliated by the appointment of the replacement, Ron goes to round up his old buddies/fellow newsmen, Brian (Paul Rudd) and Champ (David Koechner), to start a new 24-hour news program—something unheard of in the ‘80s. He wants to get Brick (Steve Carell) as well, but is told Brick is dead. Thereupon, his team creates what is clearly a spoof on 24-hour news today: A series of fast-breaking stories, like car chases. Experienced news people are horrified, but to everyone’s surprise, the 24-hour news is a big hit with the people, and the station’s ratings zoom up—a comment about the taste of the audience.
In the meantime, Ron has alienated his wife and child by pride and the aggressive pursuit of a career. Then he goes further, becoming even more insufferable and self-aggrandizing. His team walks out on him, and he is a star all on his own for a time until disaster strikes. When he reaches the bottom, he is challenged to make the difficult climb back to what is the most rewarding for him.
Crude jokes, continual sexual references, and racial slurs abound throughout the film, and I saw very few really clever images and sequences. At times, there are some interactions between characters that produced a chuckle from me, such as the scenes with Kristen Wiig and Steve Carell, along with a few references and jokes, but most just don’t reach the level of being really funny. I did think the “funeral service” was novel and the best part of the film in its freshness. Similarly, towards the end, when a dozen or so pop-ups of our best comedians appear, the film is elevated to a higher level of humor.
By: Donna R. Copeland
WILL FERRELL CHRISTINA APPLEGATE PAUL RUDD STEVE CARRELL
JAMES MARSDEN MEAGAN GOOD KRISTEN WIIG
Lets face it, Will Ferrell is now in the stage of struggling comedian who has played the same character one too many times. He joins the ranks of Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler, and Vince Vaughn. Sure, these actors can still turn a profit at the box office, but their reigning glory days are over. Ferrell’s most recent endeavors The Campaign, Casa de mi Padre and Everything Must Go were comparable flops for the actor. This is the first sequel for Ferrell and is intended to be a career rejuvenator. The cast and crew have all returned, including new faces like Marsden and former SNL alum Wiig. Profanity, racial slurs, and lots of screaming and shouting should give fans of the 2004 original exactly what they want while leaving the rest of us wondering why this type of comedy exists in the first place.
Legendary news anchor Ron Burgundy (Ferrell) and his co-anchor wife Veronica Corningstone (Applegate) have been obnoxiously delivering the news in San Diego since we saw them last. News director Mack Harken (Harrison Ford) has decided to make history with promoting Corningstone to prime news anchor and kicking Burgundy out the front door. After a period of substance abuse and self pity, Burgundy is offered a position with the debut of the 24 hour news network. He rallies his rag tag team and heads to New York to join GNN, where he will break every journalism rule and change the way we receive and perceive news.
Harken calls Burgundy “the worst journalist I’ve ever seen,” but I might extend that further to one of the worst comedians I have ever seen. Ferrell also co-wrote the screenplay, which has about as much creative comedy writing as Lindsay Lohan has class. We watch Burgundy bottle feed a shark, curse out an audience at SeaWorld, smoke crack on the air, and curse in front of his 6-year-old child. This, ladies and gentlemen, is what we call good American comedy? The closest thing to a funny scene would have been Carrell’s character freaking out when he sees his legs vanish on a television monitor as he is delivering the weather report due to a certain color pattern he is wearing against a green screen.
The lowest point of the film is when Burgundy loses his eyesight while figure skating and lives in a lighthouse for a few scenes. Even the usually funny Wiig and the extensive cameos cannot rally this lackluster sequel that seems desperate for your money but lazy in the material it delivers. I’ve never understood why anyone would find anything like this funny; watching grown men act like children for two hours is not my idea of a good time. Yet people in the screening were certainly laughing, and Ferrell, as Burgundy, has done months of obnoxious campaigning for the film that he certainly needs to do well.
Final Thought – If you laugh at Anchorman 2, it’s because you want to, not because it’s funny.
By: Dustin Chase