Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Anchorman 2 - or Political Incorrectness for Dummies

I have this theory. There is a part of Karl Stefanovic who wants to once again be a serious journalist, but at the end of every session of the Today Show, they put him in front of the film Anchorman and Anchorman 2 and brainwash him into being a dickhead. You know there is a big part of him that wants to call some guests a smelly pirate hooker. You also know that he would love to be known for his salon quality hair - even though anybody who's seen him live knows about this wonderful male pattern baldness that he tries to hide.

Like Ron Burgundy in this film, he's down in the realms of interviewing Grumpy Cat or our current Prime Minister on air for whatever journalistic sins he's committed over the last decade.

When the first Anchorman film came out, I ignored it. It was only when Will Ferrell started plugging his latest venture into the character, going on all sorts of news broadcasts to read the news that my interest was piqued and I watched the first one - and smirked all the way through it. Last Friday, after a dreadful day at work, I was in need of something light - Ron Burgundy was on offer, so Anchorman 2 it was.

By Olivia Newton-John's hymen, I had a hoot.

Going in with no expectations, knowing that I really don't like Will Ferrell all that much (though he's good in straight roles) it was time to leave the brain at the door with my normal political correctness and periodically spray watered down diet coke over the seat in front of me for the next two hours.

A good film. No. A silly, funny, inappropriate film that is great for a giggle. Yes.

Like anything Judd Apatow has his hand in, there is a gentle moral to the story behind some of the gross out humour and politically incorrect barbs that were spot on for the time. In the first film, Ron and his news team had to deal with a woman coming onboard ("It's ANCHORMAN, not ANCHORLADY" bleated Champ in the first film.) Ten years on, Ron, facing unemployment after Veronica takes over the lead position, gathers his old team together to run the graveyard shift at Global Network News - a full parody on Fox news. Scarily accurate it was when Ron asks his boss,"You mean we show people want they want to see and not what they should see. Show them sports and car chases and kittens. That's not news. It's brilliant."

This is where the moral stuff kicks in. The 24 hour news cycle. The denigration of journalism. The dumbing down of the people. The so-called news that we see today.

It's all in there, hidden by lots of very pithy one liners and a hell of a lot of silliness.

The one pity for me was how they put more into Brick Tamland's role. I love Steve Carell, but since the original film his star has brightened. Carell is another comic actor who's great in straight roles - thinking of "Dan in Real Life" and the wonderful, "The Way Way Back" - but I loved him in "The 40-Year-Old Virgin too. The film could have done without his small side story. Still worthy of a few giggles, but not necessary.

It's coming out of the cinemas at the moment, but if you need a giggle, have a spare cheapy ticket or just want to escape the heat and have a laugh, this might be your film.

If not, wait for it to come out on DVD or download it. It's slightly elevated my opinion of Will Ferrell.



Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

I only saw Anchorman for the first time just before Xmas and found it mildly amusing - not so much that I can't wait for the sequel to appear on TV though.




Jackie K said...

I liked the first one as it was spot on on the 70s and broadcast news. Will Ferrell alternates between very funny and excruciatingly not funny for me.

LJP said...

I'm not a fan of Steve Carell. There. I said it. I feel much better.

Will Ferrell is some kind of genius though!