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This just in: Second ‘Anchorman’ painfully unfunny

By Movie Man | Published Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Comments from Will Ferrell pictures are not alone in inserting themselves into the Movie Man family. Like with many other films, Movie Family picks up comic sayings, and they become part of the family’s historical record.

That’s happened twice with Ferrell.

No one can go swimming anymore with Movie Family and not hear “Cannonball!” from the first “Anchorman” picture (2004, a 5).

An even more repeated line from a Ferrell movie is “Did you hear that?!” from “Elf” (2003, a 7) delivered after a very long, soft drink-induced burp.

It’s too early to tell if this latter, lesser edition of Ferrell’s Ron Burgundy and his pals’ adventures will inspire anything else in the general or Movie Family vernacular.

ABOUT THE FILM

From the Movie Man’s first look at “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” that’s not likely, since nothing really stood out.

One thing about Ferrell: He’s not shy. He promoted “Anchorman 2″ relentlessly, even taking part in “real” newscasts.

He surely knows the allure of the “Anchormans” and, for some reason, the woeful “Step Brothers” (2008; the Movie Man passed on it, choosing instead that late July 2008 “X-Files 2: I Want to Believe,” which earned a 5]).

Ferrell’s “Anchormans” are silly-dumb. Now, there’s funny-silly-dumb and just silly-dumb.

Great examples of the former are the “Naked Gun” movies. “Superbad” (2007, a 2) is a classic case of silly-dumb which equals unfunny.

THE PLOT

Burgundy (Ferrell) and wife Veronica (Christina Applegate) think they are about to hit the big time by co-anchoring the local evening news. But boss Harken (Harrison Ford, one of several stars with cameos) picks only Applegate.

That breaks up Ferrell’s marriage. A stint at SeaWorld goes poorly. However, he’s approached and offered a job in the new field of 24-hour cable news. Accepting, he rounds up his previous team: reporter Brian (Paul Rudd), weatherman Brick (Steve Carell), and sportscaster Champ (David Koechner).

They head from San Diego to New York to begin the broadcasts only to discover they’ve been relegated to the graveyard shift of 3 to 5 a.m. The primo prime time spot went to Lime (James Marsden).

Ferrell’s crew breaks the rules by veering away from hard news and issuing pap – animal stories, entertainment fluff and car chases. They become a huge success, much to the surprise then delight of boss Linda (Meagan Good).

Eventually, Ferrell and his boys fall out; plus he can’t find time for his son. And, oh yeah, he also goes blind.

Later, Marsden’s crew ambushes Ferrell, ready for a fight. Rudd, Carell and Koechner show up. But so do news teams from Canada, the BBC, MTV, ESPN and confusingly, the History Channel, armed with a Minotaur and the ghost of Stonewall Jackson (John C. Reilly).

A battle royale begins as Ferrell struggles to get to the hall to see his boy’s piano recital. Thanks to a former pal and the doofus Carell, he makes it.

WHAT WORKS

There are exactly two funny sequences in “Anchorman 2.”

The first comes at the end where all the news teams appear, an expansion of the battle from the first movie. Among the fighters: Will Smith, Liam Neeson, Jim Carrey, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Kanye West, Sacha Baron Cohen and Ford again.

The second and best scene is under, duh, Best Scene.

There are some occasional decent bits that pop up. Ferrell spews some racially uncomfortable lines when he has supper with Good’s family. She’s black and his offensive conversation is painful/funny to hear.

Carell gets a couple of laughs for being so off the wall. His brief scene in the stinger (at the end of the final credits) is funny-silly-dumb.

Koechner’s early scenes reunited with Ferrell are also unsettling in their intimacy.

BEST SCENE

Ferrell and the gang, driving to New York in a big RV, sit on the back couch seats with no one driving since it’s on cruise control. Next to them are a box of bowling balls and deadly scorpions in a glass terrarium.

The rig turns over and begins to roll. In incredible slow motion and trick photography, the foursome fly around, getting bonked with the balls and having scorpions latch on to them, all with the appropriate screams and wacky sound effects. It’s pretty funny.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK

A big part of “Anchorman 2″ are non sequiturs – things said that make no sense and are supposed to be funny because they come out of nowhere. Almost none of them are humorous.

There’s a painfully unfunny scene where Ferrell can’t help saying the word “black” to the African-American Good. (It’s a rip-off of Austin Powers in Goldmember’s “mole” joke, which is a hundred times funnier when done by Mike Myers and Fred Savage.)

Kristin Wiig arrives as a love interest, but she’s totally wasted. Her lines are stupid, not funny.

And that happens time and again with so many characters.

Ferrell’s relationship with his son is not believable at all. Plus the kid, Judah Nelson, is a horrible actor.

THE RATING

There’s one f-bomb and some scattered bad language. There’s also some comic violence during the news teams’ battle. This is a solid PG-13.

SUMMING UP

Perhaps “Anchorman 2″ would be more enjoyable if seen with a crowd. (It actually makes a social comment on the recent dumbing down of news reporting, but frat boys won’t care about that.)

The small group with the Movie Man didn’t laugh eight times. Supposedly, enough ad-lib footage was shot to make more Burgundy movies. We hope a DVD release will make the movie more fun – ’cause it ain’t very funny right now.

NEXT UP

“Saving Mr. Banks” and the Best and Worst of 2013.

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