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OFFICIAL SILVER SCREENER REVIEW
– ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES –
IMDB Rating: 7.1 out of 10 (22,462 votes)
Director: Adam McKay
Sometimes, sequels are completely unnecessary. No, I’m not talking about films like ‘The Godfather: Part III’ and ‘Toy Story 2’, which are justified sequels (and pretty damn good films as well). I’m talking about the films like ‘Grown Ups 2’, or ‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’, which do not make sense in any realm except one driven by money. I get the feeling that some may consider ‘Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues’ as one of these films, an unnecessary exercise, not made for any reason besides possible financial benefit.
I’m a little in between. ‘Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy’ is such a great film, and was a massive success at the box office and beyond (the film nearly quadrupled it’s budget in revenue, and has since gained cult status as a modern comedy classic). So there’s that side of it. But I’m not totally convinced that it was all just to make some money. I get the feeling that co-writers Will Ferrell (who stars as the titular character) and Adam McKay (who also directed it) were genuinely trying to deliver another comedy classic for the millions of ‘Anchorman’ fans.
Unfortunately, I must report that ‘Anchorman 2’ is not the film fans of its predecessor would have been hoping for. It isn’t as clear-intentioned as the first film; the plot is a bit thin, as are the characters whom Ferrell and McKay try to give some kind of emotional depth; but most of all, it just isn’t as funny as the first film, though that would’ve been a difficult task seeing as ‘Anchorman 1’ is a side-splittingly funny film.
The opening 2 or 3 minutes are very funny, and perhaps a little hope will be raised. “Is it really gonna be better than the first one?” Then the next 10 or 15 minutes come and go, with a few chuckles here and there. And that’s pretty much how it goes for the rest of the film: there is a very funny scene, and then that’s followed up by a long stretch of small giggles. Very few times (I’m struggling to recall two) was I in a state of uncontrollable laughter, which was the case 5 or 6 times while watching ‘Anchorman 1’.
And more than that, basic plot elements just don’t work. It seems like the writing of it all, the organisation of the plot, is just a bit sporadic and scatterbrained. To an extent, some of it is a little amateurish. There’s a love interest sprouting up from nowhere between Burgundy and GNN’s African-American manager Linda Jackson (Meagan Good), and although there is a funny scene involving Burgundy’s introduction to Jackson’s family, it just doesn’t seem to fit. The relationship makes no sense at all; Jackson seemingly makes a 180° turn – from hating Burgundy to loving him – in no time at all. It just seems a little convenient.
There are a few subplots, one trying to establish a credible antagonist in Burgundy’s rival anchorman Jack Lime and one involving an Australian millionaire that’s… um… just there, and both don’t really lead anywhere. They don’t fit naturally into the story. In the first ‘Anchorman’ film, it was a simple tale of two enemies battling it out for the lead spot. This film tries to do that with the whole Jack Lime plot thread, but it falls flat, and doesn’t really mean anything. As for the Australian millionaire Kench Allenby (Josh Lawson), the plot subtly works it’s way into the story, very effectively actually. But looking back on it, it doesn’t really serve the film either.
You see, ‘Anchorman 2’ tries really hard to recreate the magic of the first film. It repeats a lot of the same jokes (instead of a room full of cologne, Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) unveils his room full of high-priced, oddly named condoms; Ron Burgundy’s flute-playing skills), and the same plot themes and ideas (finding love in all the wrong places; two people battling it out for the same job). But it isn’t as convincing the second time around, and questions need to be asked of the film’s legitimacy. I begin to think that it may not have even needed to be made.
And then I think about Steve Carell’s performance as Brick Tamland. He features much more heavily in this film; in ‘Anchorman 1’ he delivers less lines, which makes what he does say truly priceless. But Carell’s comedic timing is perfect, his delivery is amazing, and his facial expressions are unbelievably good. Perhaps without Carell’s performance – and a hilarious bunch of cameos at the end – I would be less glad I saw the film, but he was so good here, that it’s just impossible not to remember his performance as the one that made ‘Anchorman 2’ a worthy sequel. At least, more worthy than that stupid ‘Indiana Jones 4’…
MY RATING: 6 out of 10.
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