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Film review: Anchorman 2 (2013)

This is the sequel to the 2004 film Anchorman and has the same cast headed by Will Farrell. I enjoy most of Farrell’s films. There is something appealing about the eternally clueless, vain, insecure, and socially inept doofus persona that he adopts.

And in two recent films he has also managed to insert some pretty pointed social commentary in among the gags. In The Campaign (2012) that I reviewed here, he satirized American elections and how rich people buy politicians who are then beholden to them.

In this film his character is the one who shifted the idea of news from information that people need to know to anything that got good ratings which meant giving them what they want to hear, which turned out to consist of titillation, jingoistic reiterations of America’s and Americans’ greatness, and endless coverage of events where nothing really happens, like real-time car chases. This film was made before the recent disappearance of the Malaysian airlines flight but that coverage was exactly the kind of thing this film skewered.

I enjoyed both Anchorman films. It helped that in both films, Farrell’s character had a great dog named Baxter (the same name ike my own Wonder Dog) that saves his life.

The one problem is that at almost two hours, it was too long, a perennial problem with modern films and especially comedies. There were a couple of points where you thought the film had reached a good ending and then they added another sequence. For example, there was an extended scene at the end involving warring news teams that was a repeat of a joke they made in the first film and provided an excuse for well-known actors to make cameo appearances. Since it was a repeat of a joke already done, a brief nod to it would have been sufficient but they dragged it out even longer than in the original, or so it seemed. It should have been eliminated.

So while it was a good film and I enjoyed it, cutting 20 minutes would have made it much better.

Here’s the trailer.

Comments

  1. moarscienceplz says

    The one problem is that at almost two hours, it was too long, a perennial problem with modern films and especially comedies.

    Amen, brother Mano!

    I’ve never been able to figure why so many movies are 2, even 2.5, hours long. Hollywood went decades making nearly every movie 90-100 minutes. If the movies returned to the “normal” length, theaters would be able to squeeze in an extra showing per screen, per day, and maybe more people would watch two movies in one evening. Wouldn’t the bean counters like that?
    All I can figure is that it’s kinda like how they raise the prices on candy bars. They increase the price by 50%, but they also increase the size of the bar by 30% to make you think you are still getting a good deal. So maybe movies became “super-sized” to head off screams due to higher ticket prices.

  2. Silentbob says

    My favourite bit in the original was the parody of Western cliches about ‘noble savages’ (featuring Baxter the wonder dog):

    [subtitled conversation between Ron’s dog Baxter and an attacking bear]

    Baxter: Leave these people alone. They mean you no harm.

    Bear: We Bears are a proud race. They must pay for their intrusion.

    Baxter: On my journey I met one of your kind. His name was Katow-jo. We became friends.

    Bear: Katow-jo is my cousin. Go in peace.

    Baxter: I will tell tales of your compassion.

    Bear: Fare thee well, Baxter. You shall always be friend of the bears.

    (source) :-)

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