Anchorman...the original...was an amazing progression in the comedy movie genre. You laugh at that statement, but it was true. Four guys just having a fun time, one is hopelessly flawed but ultimately likable, one was funny regardless if you seriously hated the guy, one felt creepy but tolerable, and the last was a dolt. You mix that together and what came out was ultimately absurd, but genuinely funny.
Seriously, think about it. Released in 2001 during summer "comedy blitz" were American Pie 2, Scary Movie 2, and Legally Blonde. For 2002, Mr. Deeds and Austin Powers in Goldmember were what was offered. In 2003, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde and American Wedding was it. If you look at some of this list you understand that comedy movies had become stale. Seriously. I know there were the few Zoolander's and Oldschool's prior to Anchorman, but this show was the one that spawned a decade of comedy style. Before this, there was really no Apatow and McKay...and since Anchorman, most comedies you've seen since have tried to imitate that mold.
I'm going to get flayed for this, but seriously. I liken Anchorman to Fast Times at Ridgemont High film. Infinitely quotable and created a mold that was everywhere in 1980's comedies. Again, you had your standouts, Ghostbusters, but generally you saw movies in the same vein. Anchorman was that movie for the early/mid 2000s.
So a decade later, maybe my hopes were too high. Maybe the media blitz done by Will Ferrell--those Dodge commercials were hilarious--did me in. I don't know what it was, but Anchorman 2 was a serious disappointment. It felt like a rehash of jokes from the original film. Fantana once again had a secret stash (hidden in the exact same manner) of sexual stuff (instead of cologne it was condoms that don't work). Champ was even more unlikable, but never redeemed himself. And Ron, a man once called a master in his craft for the way he read the news, was fired for the very thing he was called great at.
None of this was new and that was the problem. Two great standouts, though, were Carell's character--Brick--and Wiig's character--Chani. That interaction, and the impeccable comedic timing Wiig and Carell, made points of the movie great. The other great part was when Ron goes blind and he has to deal with his life "in the dark". It is very funny to watch. But all that doesn't remove the re-hashed jokes, the flute, the news fight, and the "white guy with black family becomes horribly racist" gag.
It was not the great thing that was expected. There were funny parts, but nothing like the original. Should I have expected the original? Probably not, but again I was suckered by a spectacular marketing game. I originally didn't have high hopes for the movie and if I would have left it at that, I'd probably like it better. But after some funny marketing stints, I got excited. And what's with the critical praise? RottenTomatoes shows 75% fresh!?!? That's more than the acclaimed Lee Daniel's The Butler...
So, see it or don't see it. Just don't expect anything like the first...or expect it to be exactly like the first...I don't know which is more correct.
Note: This is another entry to my LMMR ( Last Minute Movie Reviews...pronounced Lemur ) series. These reviews will be of In Theater movies, but after you've read everyone else's take on the film and probably have seen the movie...and might not even care.