Is It Cool?: Excellence in Filmmaking
The highly anticipated follow-up to the 2004 near cult-classic “Anchor Man: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” features director Adam McKay and an all-star comedy cast headlined by Will Ferrell and Steve Carell doing more of the same; but doing it bigger, sillier, and with even less of a screenplay. Here’s where the plot would typically be summarized, but nobody goes to comedies like this for the plot. Yes, there are some big laughs in this thinly-plotted improv showcase (and many small ones too), but the film cannot be recommended on this basis alone. This is unfortunate because the talented cast certainly goes for broke and several gags are creative and memorable. As much as a comedy of this type can be, this is a well-made film. Too much of it, however, ranges from the casually offensive—to the deeply offensive—for any Christian with a moral compass.
What’s it Saying?: Message of the Movie
There is a weak, pro-family values message that awkwardly stubbles into existence by the end, but anything positive the film has to say is overshadowed by excessive vulgarity and heavy winking at a lifestyle that is clearly morally objectionable. And in a shockingly shallow attempt at profundity and cultural relevance, McKay revolves the plot around the idea that the early 80’s ushered in a time of trash “infotainment” regarding the news, where networks suddenly cared more about ratings than journalistic integrity. While this idea contains some truth, the modern news model is portrayed as a sellout to blind patriotism and corporate interests. Not only is this clearly partisan and misleading, but it’s politically tone-deaf when compared to a current White House administration that views the Constitution as merely a handy guide and is likely the least transparent and most Orwellian in U.S. history. In a pseudo-emotional monologue, Ron Burgundy declares that the purpose of news is to keep the powerful in check. Today, if anything has a death-grip on good journalism, it is the Executive Branch and not greedy corporations and God-fearing patriots.
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: Morality in the Movie
Casual sex is expected and encouraged. Adultery is taken lightly. The pornography industry is referenced for cheap laughs. Creative vulgarity and crass anatomical references are commonplace. Drug experimentation is portrayed as innocent fun. A failed suicide attempt is played for laughs. Sexism is always seen as a joke. The supposedly powerful and important women are weak and emotionally manipulated into making horrible choices. There is an even bigger, sillier gang-style brawl with several news teams that outdoes its predecessor in scope and violence (with no real consequences).
In addition to the tepid pro-family ending, there is a positive message about pride coming before the fall. But it’s easily lost and forgotten in the midst of so much casual sin.
That's Right. I Said It: Reviewer Comments
Brick Tamland (Steve Carell) is an inconsistently stupid character. I laugh at some of his antics, but they needed to decide his actual IQ and stick to it.
The slow-motion RV crash is a physical comedy gem.
Eighty percent of this film has to be improv.
The film runs about 30 minutes too long.
There are tons of cameos from famous and well-liked actors who mostly squander their talents. This has to set some kind of cameo record.