Wednesday, December 18, 2013
ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES (2013)
The original ANCHORMAN was the first Will Ferrell movie I could recommend without reservation. With the terrific comic chemistry between Ferrell and Christina Applegate (as rival and lover Veronica Corningstone) Burgundy became the most endearing of film blowhards. The sequel, again directed by Adam McKay, moves the story from ‘70s San Diego to ‘80s New York, where the anchor couple faces a marital crisis when the network promotes Veronica and fires Ron, sending the egomaniac into a tailspin. Then Freddie Shapp (Dylan Baker) offers him the chance to gather his old news team – Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), Brick Tamland (Steve Carell) and Champ Kind (David Koechner) – and join the Global News Network’s innovative 24-hour program. Because Ron feels threatened by GNN’s handsome star anchor Jack Lime (James Marsden) he makes a foolish wager. However, in his desperation to win Ron stumbles upon the novel concept of giving viewers the news they want, and his ratings go through the roof. This sudden success boosts Ron’s already inflated ego and wins him a new girlfriend in GNN’s black station chief, Linda Jackson (Meagan Good). But soon our Icarus with salon-quality hair flies too near the sun. Kristen Wiig and Greg Kinnear are welcome cast additions, but the movie is overstuffed with celebrity cameos and gives Applegate little to do. McKay and Ferrell’s script never attains the original’s narrative cohesion and too often evokes and attempts to surpass sublime moments from its predecessor. The advent of the 24-hour news cycle creates dispiriting comedy and mainly serves to remind viewers of the depressing state of current television news. The original movie used feminism to spark Ron and Veronica’s professional and emotional friction. Except for a dinner in which Ron meets Linda’s family and a love scene in which a Jackie Robinson film clip appears, the sequel’s interracial romance doesn’t provide much kick because Ferrell and Good never ignite comically. While some may “agree to disagree” that the movie has plenty of laughs (which it does), I found it more strained and less of a “big deal” this time around.