December 18, 2013, - 11:24 am
Was it really necessary to make a sequel to 2004’s “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” (other than to fill the coffers of various Hollywood hucksters)?
I’m not so sure. The sequel, “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues,” in theaters today, is incredibly stupid (with mostly groanworthy jokes) and not nearly as funny as the first one. It is obviously a well-hyped money-making machine and little else. There are lots of celebrity cameos toward the end, so half of Hollywood gets in on the cash action.
On the other hand, there are, at times, some very funny lines and the movie has some surprisingly incisive social commentary about the sorry state of cable news–and TV newscasts in general. The movie is mostly a parody of CNN at its inception, though the criticisms apply to FOX News, too. The best that I can say for it is that I loved the period clothes and set design–the movie takes place in the early ’80s. Ditto for the soundtrack of constant ’70s and ’80s hits. (And the studio gave out cool Ron Burgundy coasters with a “removable mustache” (I’ll post some pics in another post).
The story: TV news anchorman Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) is married to co-anchor Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) and, at the beginning of the movie, he’s fired. This results in his breakup with Veronica and a desperate turn as a drunken master of ceremonies at a Sea World-esque water park. But he gets fired from that, too. Soon, though, he’s approached by a producer (Dylan Baker) for a new idea: a 24-hour cable news network. Burgundy laughs at him and the idea, but is desperate for a job and he accepts. Burgundy gets his old news team (Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, and David Koechner) back together for the gig.
Once in New York at GNN, the new 24-hour cable news network, Burgundy and his team fight with other personnel and manage to finagle their way from a middle of the night newscast to prime time. And Burgundy “revolutionizes” news coverage by insisting on covering live car chases, stupid fights, and other idiocy that are, today, staples of cable, national, and local newscasts.
The rest of the movie is concerned with Burgundy’s interracial affair with his Black boss, his attempt to reconcile with Veronica, and his struggle to make his relationship with his young son a priority. That’s all dumb stuff, kinda like most of the rest of the movie.
If you have nothing to do for two hours and a need for an (only slightly) better investment option than $10 in MegaMillions lottery tickets, this is mildly entertaining (and you’ll have several laughs, but a whole lot more groans). And it’s not anything unexpected for a Ron Burgundy or sundry Will Ferrell movie. You get what you expect. I just expect more from my movies. My favorite line (of those I can remember and wrote down) is when Will Ferrell describes the two times he left the United States: “The second time I left the country, I went to Salem, Oregon.” Spot on.
By the way, while I’m not sure I need to give this warning (given that it’s an understood thing for a Ron Burgundy movie), this isn’t for kids. The movie is filthy, but only got a PG-13 designation. It deserves an “R” rating.
While, as I noted, there are some very funny lines and parts of the movie, I’m being incredibly generous when I give this . . .
HALF A REAGAN
Watch the trailer . . .
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