‘Anchorman 2’

I’m Completely Stupid And So Are You

Broad comedy has one saving grace – it never has to get too profound so one thing it will never get mistaken for is Critical Theory. We are never going to mistake a film starring Will Ferrell with ‘A Thousand Plateaus’. This is a good thing because it shows our understanding of genre protects us from exposing ourselves to ideas and notions we would rather not have. Thus comedy draws the most knee-jerk critics when in fact the comic vision sustains the sharpest critique of our milieu.

That being said there are comedies and there are comedies. Some are more cutting than others while broad comedy has an anodyne quality that makes it seem like it is neither poison or medicine. ‘Anchorman’ was such a film and became such a hit that many years later, it spawned this sequel.

What’s Good About It

The bits that make you squirm in your seat with laughter. This one is probably funnier than the first but in bursts. The awfulness of Ron Burgandy can be pretty intoxicating. The inappropriate lines come flying one after the other. The study of Ron is better when he is on top and commanding more than when he is down and out. When he is down and out, the humour is just too maudlin. When Ron thinks he’s in a commanding position, the inappropriateness grows bolder and sillier.

What’s Bad About It

The bits that make you cringe in your seat with laughter. Political correctness gets a right bollocking, but it’s actually hard to say things have come a long way in 30years. It’s not the film’s fault, but the gap is uncomfortable.

What’s Interesting About It

This is the weird thing. The film is a celebration of network news and around-the-clock news coverage while it posits a problematic that say the demand for 24hour news creates the need for increasingly spurious stories. So, on the one hand you have the glorious 24 hour news channel feeding news to the world non-stop as it comes off the feed, but not everything that comes down the feed is of equal importance. Then there is the problem that Television is more given to sensational topics than thoughtful pieces. It’s the nature of the beast as long as it must chase ratings for revenue.

The film is actually quite didactic about this problem. While Ron’s desire to get ratings essentially drives down the average intellectual content to the lowest common denominator, it is also true that he drives the stories to their most sensational apex. All the stylistic quirks we know of contemporary news programs are explained away through Ron Burgandy’s idiotic need to be sensational all the time. You’d almost think the film was a savage satire instead of a simple, broad comedy. But then it quickly abandons this project in favour of a plot-line where Ron loses his sight and therefore his job. With Ron’s eyesight goes any pretension at explaining what made news programming so awful.

The Perils Of Stardom

In the intervening years between the first film and this film, Steve Carrell’s star has risen considerably. This has meant his character Brick Tamland has got the B-plot over Paul Rudd, Christina Applegate and David Koechner. The problem is that Brick was such a minor character the first time through, and such a moron that the plot really doesn’t go anywhere smart or interesting. instead, Carrell gets to play what can only be described as ‘dueling idiots’ with Kristen Wiig.

Yes he gets second billing behind Will Ferrell, but brick is such an idiotic character they have tremendous difficulty extracting anything meaningful out of the B-plot.

I am guessing this sequel is going to do nothing to rescue Chrstina Applegate’s star. She’s really not doing a good job in this film. I never thought I’d say this but, she’s actually bad in this movie, when it’s exactly the kind of film that should be her bread and butter.

Harrison Ford’s cameo is beyond perplexing. He was sort of re-doing his Morning Glory role of Mike Pomeroy, but it was a strange choice.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cinema, Film, Movies, Television

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s