By Will Ashton
If you have been reading my blog and haven’t figured it out yet, I’m a huge fan of Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. To me, it’s not only one of the most quotable movies of the past decade, but it goes up there with the ranks of The Big Lebowski and Airplane! as one of my comedy favorites of all time.
So, naturally, I’ve been awaiting the sequel with the eagerness of a child for Christmas morning (coincidentally, around when the film is set to be released), but with the reservation of a parent sending their child to drive for the first time alone. I’m so excited to see this movie, but at the same time, I’m incredibly nervous that this is going to suck.
While the first couple trailers have certainly been promising, trailers have fooled us in the past, especially when it comes to comedies. But, the first screening of the film has been shown, and the feedback from the first couple tweets have been thankfully pretty comforting. Well, at least some.
A majority, at least that I read, seem to suggest that the movie is quite funny. Dan Okopnyi said, “So anchorman 2 made the original anchorman look stupid. That’s all I’m saying.” Johnny D. said, “Just came back from a test screening of “Anchorman 2”. Can’t say anything spoilery but all ill say is: “it’s pretty damn funny!” Tomas Gonzalez said, “Anchorman 2 was everything I expected and more. Definitely lives up to the first one with way more surprises.” The most encouraging one, though, would have to come from WhatsCrackinCalum, who said, “Anchorman 2-funniest movie ever.”
But some weren’t so kind. Terrence Edmonds said, “Just saw Anchorman 2…Dont waste your time.” Additionally, ScreenCrush got a reader to give a review, and he said the following, ”
To be fair, “third” act seems generously undercounted, given how many directions the script goes off in….Divergences like these make up about an hour’s worth of extra padding for an already thin conceit; it’d work better as a “Where are they now?” Funny Or Die clip.
Painful moments abound in the rest of the film: multiple scenes involving Burgundy’s superior and eventual paramour (Meagan Good) are steeped in so many clichés about white-on-black racism that it’s hard not to see them as perpetuating the problem somewhat.
On the other hand, there’s Brick. Steve Carell is thoroughly skilled at acting bereft of mental competency, but what’s crucial is his capacity for making it funny rather than cruel. One could squirm at the implications of retardation, but one would also miss Carell’s veering hilariously far to the left of the uncanny valley in playing Brick.
This being a test screening and not the final version, time will tell what will make it into the official release, but a bit of retooling is definitely necessary to compete with the first Anchorman.”
The key thing to remember here, for better or for worse, would be that this was a test screening. Producer Judd Apatow has famously been known to rely heavily on this process for his films, and will very likely tweek and edit the film as he and the team pleases until the last minute. So the version that these people saw last night will not be the exact one that will be playing in theaters this December. It should also be mentioned that these are just some people on Twitter, not professional critics.
Beyond this, however, this doesn’t change my expectations too much. I’m not expecting the new film to match the original exactly. But, if there are at least some laughs, then I’ll be happy. And that seems to be the case, at least for some.