Not Newsworthy – A review of Anchorman II: The Legend Continues
Title: Anchorman II: The Legend Continues
Production Company: Paramount
Run Time: 119 minutes
Director: Adam McKay
Stars: Will Farrell, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner, Christina Applegate, James Marsden
Summary: Ron Burgundy (Will Farrell) and the news team are back. It’s too bad though. They forgot to bring the laughs with them this time.
Comedies in Hollywood prove, all too often, the dumbing down of American cinema to the point of thoroughly mindless depths. Such is the case with Anchorman II.
The movie feels completely disjointed to the point where there are simply unrelated scenes mended together, not with a plot, but with the cacophony associated with non-acting between folks that we’re supposed to root for but instead wish would simply go away.
I think I may have laughed twice during the course of the movie. The first time was during the opening sequences when Burgundy was fired by none other than Harrison Ford. I suppose I would have laughed again if the movie ended then and there.
Instead I was treated to an additional two hours of relative humorlessness as Will Farrell and company proved once again why I am generally not entertained by today’s idea of big screen comedy.
After being fired, Ron is wooed by a 24 hour news network called GNN. He agrees to do the gig provided that he can bring the old news team together again.
He finds the rest of his team in various parts of the country doing different things. Champ (David Koechner) is running a fast food chicken outlet (which is really serving fried bats). Brian (Paul Rudd) is photographing cats. And Brick (Steve Carell) is supposedly dead.
Now individually, each of these situations seems pretty funny on paper. The execution on screen, though, is cringe worthy.
And then there’s Burgundy’s wife Veronica (Christina Applegate). After firing Burgundy, Ford gives her the nightly news anchor position which causes immense distain from Burgundy who issues an ultimatum. Veronica chooses the job over him (an applause worthy moment amidst the doldrums of the rest of the film.
The culminating fight scene which pitted numerous news anchoring teams against each other was chuckle worthy only insomuch as the sheer number of cameo guest appearances by Hollywood’s acting and comedy elite. Liam Neeson, Will Smith, Jim Carrey, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, John C. Reilly and a host of other recognizable stars pop in and out for what manages to be the second funny moment during the film.
The romance between Brick and a ditzy bimbo in the GNN secretary pool seems almost tacked on as an afterthought. I’m sure the powers-that-be thought Kristin Wiig’s Chani was a funny creation. Personally, I thought it was a waste of talent.
Now there is indeed one thing that this movie did do right. In his effort to reinvent the news on GNN, Burgundy takes a lighter approach. He ‘creates’ the infotainment format and manages to tick off station management – until they see the ratings, of course.
In this day and age, where the media extols the glories of the latest Miley Cyrus or Lindsey Lohan exploit as news instead of exposing presidential lies or the incompetence of his cabinet, the Burgundy story, in essence, has boiled down network news perfectly.
During the course of the movie, Farrell will offend cultures and overexpose his own incompetence, which is what he expects will bring the most laughs to his audience.
Instead, the only thing I found myself watching with interest was the minutes ticking by on my watch as I wondered how quickly the movie would come to an end.
I’m sure, though, that audiences will find this humorous, which is why Farrell will be back in Anchorman III. I will not be waiting with baited breath. I give Anchorman II two out of five stars.