Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
About a year and a half ago, when we were talking with Steve Carell about his then-upcoming filmSeeking a Friend For the End of the World, he broke the news that due to popular demand, there would be a sequel for Will Ferrell’s cult movie Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. That film was a minor hit (at best) when it was released, but it featured pre-stardom co-starring gigs by Carell and Paul Rudd and eventually gained a following over the years on cable and video.
“This is something we’ve wanted to do for years,” Carell had said. “We had to persuade the studio to do another one. They’d been reticent about doing it for a number of years. We all wanted to. As soon as we finished the first one, we started talking about doing another one.”
This kind of surprised me. Truth is, I’ve never seen the original Anchorman. I’m not a huge fan of Will Ferrell’s humor and the trailers always looked beyond stupid to me. I hadn’t really heard about this huge groundswell of passion to continue the story. Frankly, at nine years after the original and with Ferrell’s career pretty much in the toilet, it would seem to me that they had missed the window of opportunity to tap into that film’s cult popularity.
However, now Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is finally out, I was kind of looking forward to it. I’ve been told many times over the years by people whose taste I trust that Anchorman truly is a very funny movie. The cast is full of actors whose work I like, even if I don’t particularly like the lead.
It also came out recently that I grew watching the anchorman that Burgundy was loosely based on – 70s KYW Philadelphia anchor Mort Crim, who may now be best remembered for the fact that he co-anchored with Jessica Savitch before she went national. Therefore that may add some nostalgic kick to the film for me.
Now that I’ve seen it I only have two things to say. The studio was right to drag their feet. And ifAnchorman 2 is any indication of the quality of Anchorman, I was right all along to avoid it all of these years. (Though, I suppose I am willing to give the original the benefit of the doubt that sequels are almost always worse than the original. Still, even as a thumbnail sketch, there is nothing here that intrigues me to go back and find out.)
Truth of the matter is I only laughed out loud twice during the whole God-awful longer-than-jail running time of Anchorman 2. Spoiler alert: both times were provided by Carell. Not that his character was particularly funny, either. In fact, with the exception of Burgundy himself, Carell’s character of Brick could make a good argument for being the second most annoying person on screen. However, Carell did luck into two guffaws, mostly through talent and sheer force of will.
It’s all a shame, because Anchorman 2 rides on the nugget of a good idea. It’s 1980, and a down-in-the-dumps Ron Burgundy and his crew (Rudd, David Koechner and Carell) take a job with an all-new 24-hour cable news network and become inadvertent stars by introducing the world to the kind of substance-free fluff infotainment which has since become rampant on cable.