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Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (AF)


Stars: Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, David Koechner, Christina Applegate, Dylan Baker, Meagan Good, James Marsden, Fred Willard, Kristen Wiig, Josh Lawson, Chris Parnell, Judah Nelson, Harrison Ford, Bill Curtis, Liam Neeson, Vince Vaughn, Sasha Baron Cohen, Tina Fey, Kirsten Dunst, Marion Cotillard, Amy Poehler, Fred Willard, Josh Lawson, John C Reilly, Kanye West

Director: Adam McKay

Many of the people watching the return of Will Ferrell as newsman Ron Burgundy at the screening I attended sensibly laughed only rarely.

Which says much for the relentless promotion that has made sure that this witless would-be comedy has made a fortune at the box office once again bears out the truth of legendary Hollywood producer Joseph E (A Bridge too Far) Levine’s dictum: “You can fool all the people all the time if the advertising is right and the budget is big enough”.

It’s been nine years since Ferrell created his paper-thin character of San Diego newscaster in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. It’s a great pity that Ferrell and Co. didn’t wait another nine years so that he and his costars would have been too old to return. I’d have happily waited a century.

But Hollywood and star ego motto that nothing succeeds like a sequel made the way for Anchorman 2.

Which in my opinion proves another Hollywood adage – nothing sucks like a sequel. (Although, to be fair, were there an Academy Award for Most Crass Celluloid Crap, then this would win hands down).

Auteurists can make up their own minds, since the film is jointly scripted by Ferrell and the director Adam McKay, and put on screen with all the subtlety of a psychopathic hippopotamus trapped in a telephone box.

Ferrell plays Ferrell, which patently pleases himself a great deal. For my money (and I’d happily have paid to miss the film) if Ferrell was even ten times as funny as he clearly believes he is, he would actually be several times less funny than he comes over on screen here.

Carell goes over the top in a hammy performance destined to haunt him for the rest of his career (it would seem his fine characterisation in The Way, Way Back must have been a fluke) and the only actor to emerge with anything to feel good about is James Marsden whose gleaming dental smile and perfectly stated self-adoration as a television star is one of the very few redeeming features on offer.

There are a few jokes (Ferrell wrestling with a shark, and then going blind, a cabinet packed with condoms and a slew of classic witlessness) but humour soon peters out. And amusing cameos from the likes of Sacha Baron Cohen, Tina Fey, Liam Neeson, Jim Carrey and Vince Vaughn arrive too late to save the show for me.

Still, at least Ferrell and the investors must be laughing - all the way to the bank

Alan Frank

USA 2013. UK Distributor: Paramount. Technicolor.
119 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 2, Swearing 2.

Review date: 28 Dec 2013