ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES
US, 2013, 119 minutes, Colour.
Will Ferrell, Steve Carrell, Paul Rudd, David Koechner, Christina Applegate, Dylan Baker, Meagan Goode, Greg Kinnear, James Marsden, Josh Lawson, Kristin Wiig, Harrison Ford, Fred Willard… and a host of cameos from big stars at the end (beware they are listed at the end of this review if you don’t want to know who they are beforehand).
Directed by Adam Mc Kay.
Enjoying Anchorman 2, and remembering Anchorman from 2004, I looked up the review and found a sentence I rather liked. And, of course, it is relevant to this sequel: One culture's hilarity is another culture’s stone-faced incomprehension. So, it is obvious that not everyone is going to enjoy Anchorman let alone warm to Run Burgundy’s personality.
We are still back in the past when anchor rivalries on networks could bring on warfare. This time round, boss Harrison Ford wages an attack on Ron, sacking him, while making a star of Ron’s wife and co-host, Veronica (Christina Applegate). While Will Ferrell has the capacity to create a character who is unlikeable and somewhat likeable at the same time, his Ron Burgundy is something of a dill, narcissistic, but fine at jokes and spoofs. What is Ron to do?
Fortunately, he is being headhunted for a new 24 hours TV News Service (which Ron thinks is silly, but the pay is good). He rounds up his old friends from last time and finds them in funny situations: David Koechner (racist and homophobic) has a fried food franchise – which fries bats; Paul Rudd is photographing cats; and Steve Carell thinks he is dead and attends and speaks at his own funeral.
The new network is financed by an Australian, Josh Lawson with a broad accent, owner also of Koala Airlines. Where did they get the idea for an Australian magnate who owns TV networks? Ron’s rival at the network is an equally narcissistic James Marsden.
The screenplay is sending up the origins of reality TV and the news as entertainment, a helicopter following a chase in the hope that there is something sensational. Just by filming it with Ron’s commentary has made it sensational and watchable. Ron appeals to his audience to think American.
So, we are off to silly shenanigans, like smoking crack on screen, which are not too far from what passes today for news. Foxnews? The others get their turn at the funnies, especially Steve Carrell as Brick, the most seriously obtuse weather man you could find – who falls in love with the humourless assistant, played by Kristin Wiig. His deadpan responses become better and funnier.
Ron has a romance with the manager, Meagan Good, goes blind for a time with Veronica trying to make up with him. Then defiance of the powers that be because of interference.
How can it end – mainly with his son’s recital of a piano piece he composed for his father – but not before a battle of the news anchors which brings in a whole lot of cameos from some performers you would not expect to see. So, there is a lot of entertainment in this fracas. (The cameos are from Sacha Baron Cohen, Will Smith, Kirsten Dunst, Liam Neeson, Marion Cotillard, Jim Carrey, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, John C. Reilly, Vince Vaughn, Kanye West).
Ron Burgundy, despite himself, would be welcome to come on screen again.
1. The popularity of the original? The success of the sequel? Comedy, comic characters, absurdity at an enjoyable level, the satire on the world of television and it’s becoming mediocre?
2. Inventiveness in situations, television, changing, the News, popular tastes, the public? The entrepreneurs and the owners of the station, their interventions? Their good and bad taste? Ratings and money?
3. The Australian owner, the parody of Australians, attitudes, accents, larger-than-life – and the reminder of Rupert Murdoch?
4. The work in San Diego, Ron and his life, with Veronica, their son, the newscast? Mark and his intervention, the interview and the questions, appointing Veronica, firing Ron, his mocking him?
5. Ron, upset, expecting success with Veronica, difficulties in relating with his son, Veronica and her decision, her career or her family, the argument? Ron and his self-centredness?
6. Ron, his despair, his values, himself, ambitions? His actions and absurdity, the dialogue, the touch of the outrageous and absurd?
7. Freddie coming to see him, 24-hour news, Ron mocking the idea, the offer, the money, his role? Finding his team? Where me and his career, the fried bats? Brian, the cat photography? Brick and his thinking he was dead, and his own funeral, his picture, his speech about himself, introducing the absurdity of bricks character and dialogue? The particular styles of comedy of each? William and his racism, the gay touch? Brian, sex, the condoms? Brick, robotic, comments, action, intervening at the wrong moments?
8. The discussions with the Australian proprietor and not understanding him? His air company and the later reporting and cover-up? Linda Jackson, meeting with Ron, his being taken aback at her being black and repeating the word?
9. The clash, the opening of the studio, Jack Lime and his vanity, his hangers on, the challenge, the bet with Ron, Jack and his success?
10. The idea for the television programme, the graveyard shift? Not giving the news that people thought they wanted? But giving them scoops, animals, patriotism? audiences watching the initial program, their quotes, the high ratings? Jack Lime having to call himself Jack Lame?
11. Brick, with Chane Lastname, they’re both being robotic, her inability to answer the phone properly, mailing emails, meeting at the soda machine, talk, sex, the kiss?
12. Jack Lame, is reaction, his vengeance?
13. Veronica, the work, watching the television, her relationship with Gary, love for her son? Ron and his visits? Gary as psychologist, Ron thinking he was reading his mind, also the son, the jokes about psychologists and mind-reading? Capitalising on this at the final battle?
14. Ron and Linda Jackson, her coming on to him sexually, the affair, his going to her family home, his parody of caricature black people, the family’s reaction, highlighting racism by portraying obtuse racism?
15. The various programs, smoking crack in the studio? Interviews and situations? Animals? Ron’s vanity, the others, their being put in the background, hurt?
16. Ron, the accident and being beaten, his blindness, retiring to the lighthouse, the jokes about being blind, excusing his not being able to feel or smell? Veronica and her arrival, with their son, helping, the happiness, the little shark, the rescue, rearing him, letting him go – and the finale with the shark, Ron going into the sea, the embracing the shark, the rescue? Veronica and concealing the fact that Ron could have an operation and see?
17. The operation, his success, his return, popularity, the clashes, the car chase and his going on air, describing the car chase, speculating about the
results, the lame ending but what might have been? Television audiences all watching it, loving it?
18. Ron, his decision to leave, interactions with his friends? Going through the park to his son’s recital? Jack Lime and his associates? The friends turning up? The build-up to the fight, the television announces all coming to fight, the jokes with such stars as Liam Neeson, Jim Carrey, Marion Cotillard, Will Smith, John C Reilly, Sacha Baron Cohen, Tina Fahey, Amy Poehler? The fight and mayhem?
19. Ron going to the recital, his friends, applauding his son? And the happy ending?