Anchorman 2 (USA, 2013)

MV5BMjE5ODk0NjQzNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODk4MDA1MDE@._V1_SX640_SY720_Directed by: Adam McKay. To young men of un certain âge, the first Anchorman movie was something of a cultural landmark, something we could all agree on, a language we could all speak; it was our Bible, something that any vacant-headed teenage bro could summon as a social lubricant with any other vacant-headed teenage bro. It was our Animal House. I won’t go into the question of whether or not that fact is good or bad or indifferent, I’ll only assert that it’s objectively true, and use that fact to weigh this sequel. If, like me, you were of that lost tribe of Anchorman fans, clinging bitterly to the cocooned world of prolonged adolescence that modern society has afforded young twentysomething men, then this sequel appeared as a strange kind of beacon, reaching from a stunted adolescence into the present, slightly less stunted adolescence of my late-twenties. And hell, while we’re on the topic of demographics, it’s also worth noting that the first Anchorman—which derived most of its humour from the modern conceit that it’s funny to laugh at all of the perceived backwardness of our parents’ generation, that backwards world of the 70’s, so starkly different from our own, where sexism, racism, homophobia, cultural insensitivity, and lack of responsibility towards the environment and even towards one’s own health, was so blatant that it was laughable—was most strongly embraced by middle-to-upper class white heterosexual males. It’s a film marketed squarely at one group bathing in its privilege, poking fun at another group that was so hilarious because of how cluelessly it bathed in its own privilege. I won’t spend an awful lot of time on this, but all of that longwinded preamble above serves as (what Freudians would call) my fetishistic disavowal—I know very well, but…I still liked watching this movie. Keeping in mind all of the stuff I just said, the first Anchorman wasn’t particularly intelligent, etc, but it was super satisfying. Anchorman 2 was not as good as Anchorman, and relied, as every comedy sequel does, on rehashing old gags and repeating the same old character flubs. But, to its credit, it had enough new stuff to keep it from being truly awful. Anchorman 2 is not Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, and maybe it’s the luxury of 10 years that made it so enjoyable. At the end of the day, as I mentioned in the last Adam McKay movie I saw, I just really enjoy this unapologetically oddball, goofy, stupid, immature adult humour that traces its origins directly in that realm of secret, childhood, foul-mouthed misbehaviour, that intersection of a child’s boundless imagination with a weak internal censor on ideas that are not “grown-up”. All of the extra shit, the insensitive political incorrectness as a way of critiquing political incorrectness, I won’t touch that stuff, you can tear that down all you want. But that final showdown between news anchors, as cheesy as it is to fill it with celebrity cameos, was pretty fucking funny. At the end of the day, I can’t resist Liam Neeson leading a charge of History Channel anchors, one of whom is a minotaur (“That’s not even history, that’s mythology!”), and one of whom is John C. Reilly as the ghost of Stonewall Jackson, sucking the souls out of the people around him. At the end of the day, I think that Harrison Ford turning into a werewolf is funny.

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2 responses to “Anchorman 2 (USA, 2013)

  1. Pingback: List of Judgements, Anno Domini 2014 | Offhand Reviews·

  2. Pingback: Hot Tub Time Machine (USA, 2010) | Offhand Reviews·

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