Every Christmas week, Hollywood throws their last hurrah. Usually you get a ton of Oscar-caliber films in limited release, one or two on-the-fence movies in wider release, and then a big, dumb film for everyone else.
Believe it or not, 47 Ronin is not the big, dumb film this year.
No, that’s Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. But big and dumb isn’t always a bad thing.
Here’s the long and short of it: If you liked Anchorman, you’ll probably like the sequel. Why? Because they’re basically the same film. Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) climbs up the ranks as a newscaster, eventually becoming #1 in his field (first in San Diego, now in the national spotlight). Then he has wacky hijinks as his ego grows larger and larger. Then something happens that causes him to hit rock bottom.
Finally, he gets his redemption.
This time, Ron is fired from his job even as his wife Veronica (Christina Applegate) becomes the nation’s first prime-time female newswoman. This causes Ron to throw a fit and he ends up divorced from Veronica and estranged from his son Walter (Judah Nelson). But it’s ok, because he’s approached by Freddie Shapp (Dylan Baker) with an offer to join the world’s first 24 hour news channel.
Intrigued (by the paycheck, at least), Ron gets the rest of the San Diego team back together. Once he’s been reunited with Brick Tamland (Steve Carell), Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) and Champ Kind (David Koechner), the plot kicks in to full gear.
Honestly, there’s a whole lot of plot for such a silly film, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone familiar with Will Farrell comedies. Between Ron’s new boss Linda Jackson (Meagan Good), his new rival Jack Lime (James Marsden) and a whole host of ridiculousness, this could have easily been an even longer film.
Fortunately it caps out at a mere 1 hr, 59 minutes.
But seriously, both movies are identical. Hell, even the jokes are partially recycled. In the first one, Brian Fantana has a gag where here showcases his many colognes guaranteed to drive women wild. In the sequel, it’s condoms, but the set-up and premise is identical.
But again, that’s not a bad thing. Most of the jokes don’t fall flat. There are even some really good, subtle sight gags. Brick is ridiculous, Champ is an amalgamation of every homophobic and racist thought anyone’s ever had, and Brian talks a lot about his conquests. The new characters and old all do exactly what you’d expect and it usually works.
The one thing I really liked about this over the first is how they subtly and very not-so-subtly skewered current news. From CNN to Fox News, every cable news network gets picked on at least a little bit in Anchorman 2.
So if you’re looking for a big, dumb movie to watch this weekend, and you like big, dumb Will Ferrell flicks, you won’t be disappointed by this one.