Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Anchorman 2: The Legend Falters

This sequel, like milk, was a bad choice. Nine years in the making, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues feels every bit like a hastily slapped together cash grab whose every bright spot comes directly from jokes referenced or reused from Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Most forget that the first film wasn't a box office hit and only found success on home video and cable. The far inferior sequel will send droves into the theaters only to learn they never need to see it a second time. Some sequels are bad enough to make you reconsider your feelings about the original. This is that kind of movie.

Picking up the story of anchorman Ron Burgandy (Will Ferrell) a few years after the first film, Ron splits from his wife (Christina Applegate) and young son to go on the first of two boring personal journeys before reuniting the news team for new jobs at a 24-hour news network. Despite bringing back Steve CarellPaul Rudd, and David Koechner the sequel only offers Carell his own subplot with a secretary (Kristen Wiig) every bit as mentally challenged as Brick.

Other than having nothing new to offer, the sequel's major problem is investing time in new charcters and plotlines only to never see any of them through. The script takes time to set-up James Marsden as a rival anchor for Ron at the new network, but other than a running gag about his character's name the entire subplot goes absolutely nowhere. The same can be said for Ron's dalliance with his new boss (Meagan Good) which is never more awkward or ill-conceived than a dinner which her family before it too is hastily discarded as well.

Although there are some chuckles to be had in the first act, most are relatively cheap and those hurmorous moments become increasingly less frequent especially during the film's second-half where it abandons the news room (just as the original did) to force the character to move forward in a cliched final act that involves a star-studded new version (but still largely forgettable) battle of the news teams and a parent's last-second race to see a child's performance.

Anchorman 2: The Legend Falters may not be the worst film I saw in 2013 but its certainly the most wasteful with the level of talent assembled. Since penning the script for the original movie with Ferrell, Adam McKay has had a spotty career whose highlights (Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Step Brothers) can be considered occasionally funny mixed successes at best. And Anchorman 2 is no Step Brothers (it's not even The Other Guys).

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