Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013)

Genre: Comedy

Director: Adam McKay

Writers: Will Ferrell, Adam McKay

Starring: Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, Christina Applegate

Rating:★★★★

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004) was kind of a big deal, and is personally one of my favourite comedies, a film labelled as “absolutely hilarious” and loved by many; you could say it’s a film loved more than Ron loves scotch and Brick loves lamp.  When I heard news that there was going to a sequel nearly a decade later, I was at the same time excited but nervous at the thought that it would bring shame to its great original. However full of casual racism, silly humour, big bushy moustaches, even more news reading and of course salon-quality hair, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues doesn’t disappoint. The writing is hilarious with the story being enjoyable and fun despite it feeling slightly lazy, Will Ferrell and Steve Carell produce brilliant performances once again, whilst a handful of cameo all-stars provide great laughter and surprise. Anchorman 2 may not be as successful as its prequel however it is certainly a memorable comedy.

Things have changed since Anchorman (2004), Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) is now living the higher life away from his beloved San Diego, in New York City alongside his wife Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate), and the pair now even has a son, Walter Burgundy.  However, when their boss decides to promote Corningstone to become the first ever full-time lead female anchor and fire Ron, times a’change once more. Now working part-time at sea-world Ron, away from his wife and son seems to be washed-up once more, however his shot at redemption comes in the form of Freddie Schapp (Dylan Baker), the executive behind Global News Network, the world’s first ever twenty-four hour, around the clock news channel. Ron is hired, and he proceeds to hunt down and reunite his old gang and news team of Champ, Brick and Brian (David Koechner, Steve Carell and Paul Rudd). Ron and his news team are back behind the news desk once again however given the graveyard shift and a challenge to get ratings, Ron creates a radical plan to transform news and put him back as the number one news reader once again. But will Ron and Veronica ever get back together, with Ron becoming a dad again, and will Brick finally grow up and find his true love, are some of the battles the Global News Network team have to accomplish.

Anchorman 2 follows the same narrative as its previous instalment with the feud between Ron and Veronica leaving Ron jobless and in a tough position, meaning he has to fight once more to become the legend he previously was.  I see this as lazy writing, with even simple plots being copied once more with the introduction of another news team war and a pet shark; however it creates the same feel and consequently the same great humour so my criticism is also slightly positive.

The laughs in Anchorman 2 are as expected, always present. Ron once more is foolish, arrogant but mightily hilarious, whilst Brick keeps his place as one of the funniest characters ever created. With the news team reunited and on the way to New York, there’s a scene which is hilarious as their van crashes and the team fly about mid-air in the van along with the beloved Baxter. Brick likewise to his character in Anchorman has a handful of gut-busting quotes, my favourite – “A black man used to follow me around”, “Brick that’s your shadow”.  Even the other characters seem to produce big-laughs; Paul Rudd’s Brain Fantana goes through his cupboard of magical condoms, whilst Chuck talks about the “chicken of the cave” in his new food-chain restaurant.  Anchorman 2 is a great comedy however it isn’t quite a classic like its prequel, with something seeming missing.

The acting was great; of course the two stand-outs for me were Will Ferrell and Steve Carell. Ferrell brought Burgundy back to life with real style, with his arrogant humour and salon quality hair. However Carell was better than before, I was pleased to see him even getting his own story as he kindles up a love with a fellow awkward and dim colleague, which sees them go on a date to get a drink from a soda-vending machine. When we first see Brick again it was hilarious and really made me laugh. Just like Anchorman, The Legend Continues produces an iconic news team war which sees half a dozen all-star cameos, without giving all the names away we see a very animated Kanye West and an even hairier Harrison Ford.

I did find myself laughing throughout this film, but as I have said I didn’t find it as successful as its original. The story seemed too similar and that took away some laughs and enjoyment, whilst I found it slightly un-progressive at times with the story seeming to go round and round in circles. Anchorman 2 also seemed to push a lot of boundaries with its humour which seemed too forced and obvious at times, whilst before I viewed it as refreshing and inventive.

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues isn’t as legendary as its previous original however for me it was a hilarious, funny and great comedy which doesn’t shame its name whatsoever.  Brilliant characters and brilliant acting create laugh after laugh, whilst there are a few very iconic scenes with some very iconic faces, with even a equally fun and lovable 70’s style soundtrack. It is easy to watch and even easier to enjoy with some familiar but decent writing from director and star Adam McKay and Will Ferrell. Anchorman 2 is a must-watch comedy, and should be regarded as the stand-out comedy of 2013. “Oh for the love of fresh nipple cream, this is great”

 

 

 

 

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The Way Way Back (2013)

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Directors: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash

Writers: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash

Starring: Steve Carell, Liam James, Toni Collette, Allison Janney

Rating:★★★★

The Way Way Back to my surprise was a film that I saw on a lot of lists come the end of 2013 but since watching I can certainly agree with its inclusion. Surprisingly warming, pleasant and funny it sways from the stereotypical “teen-comedy” and produces a refreshing much welcome change. Good solid performances from the whole cast along with a witty well-written script The Way Way Back is entertaining and defiantly deserves its praise.

Duncan (Liam James) is a shy, in-the-background 14 year old who doesn’t have a conventional lifestyle and is forced to go on summer vacation with his mother Pam (Toni Collette), her horrible arrogant boyfriend Trent (Steve Carell) and his equally annoying and spoilt daughter. Whilst his mum is busy putting herself “out there” meeting  Trent’s vacation friends Duncan finds himself left out and unable to fit in. Riding around on an a pink little girls bike he discovers the Water Wizz  Park and quickly forms a bond with manager Owen (Sam Rockwell), finding an unexpected friend in Owen, Duncan soon finds out how to enjoy his summer vacation but he still has to face is overbearing and disastrous family.

The story is pleasant, although at first it looks to be the typical comedy of the neglected family member getting revenge or becoming a hero or a romanticist it changes and somewhat becomes more serious. Duncan’s relationship with Owen is hilarious and obviously the highlight, he is given power and earns a reputation at Water Wizz and with that Duncan comes out of his shell and turns out to be a funny and “cool” kid. The relationship though is also pleasant as it is obvious that the two have a bond and Duncan looks up to Owen as a role model in ways, the way that the Owen looks out for Duncan is very warming too. The other relationship storylines in the film are not as good but decent, Duncan and his mother obviously need to repair their broken relationship so we follow that throughout, whilst Pam actually has her own problems with the very easily dislikeable Trent and finally a small subplot follows Duncan having a romance with his neighbour however it is very cheesy and for me unnecessary.

Liam James plays Duncan very well, he is easily likeable and we route for him throughout and he provides plenty of laughs, one very memorable scene is when Duncan is made to dance (including the classic robot) in front of a huge crowd at the water park. Rockwell’s Owen however is my favourite character; he provides the main comedy and in a way makes this film very easily watchable.  Steve Carrel also deserves credit for his role as obnoxious Trent and likewise for Collette’s Pam.  Although small characters in the film, neighbours Betty and (eye-patch) Peter are absolutely hilarious and provide even more likability to The Way Way Back so they deserve a mention.

The ending to The Way Way Back is very warming and wraps up the film nicely however for me there are still picky criticisms. I would have liked to see a quicker start, although it opens with great introductions it attempts to trick us with Duncan’s romance whereas I would have liked to seen Owen introduced much more quickly, and on the note of the romance I would have scrapped it all together as it isn’t “Duncan”.

In a whole The Way Way Back is a bundle of laughs and fantastic comical moments, with a well-written script and characters it makes for a surprisingly great watch. Standout performances from Liam James and Sam Rockwell add to the entertainment and create a pleasant feel to balance out the comedy. The Way Way Back is a worth-while experience that is easily watchable and enjoyable.

Despicable Me 2 (2013)

Despicable Me 2 (2013) Poster

Genre: Animation, Comedy, Crime, Family

Directors: Pierre Louis Padang Coffin, Chris Renaud

Writers: Ken Daurio, Cinco Paul

Staring: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt

Rating: ★★★½

Despicable Me was a huge success and there is no wonder why, it was charming, fun and adorable with a somewhat unique approach to characters, especially the crazy lovable minions. When announced that a sequel would follow and that Despicable Me 2 would be hitting our screens this summer I was worried and unsure to say the least, it had a lot to live up to and to achieve the same success was going to be a big challenge. The ending to its prequel was heart warming and simply lovely but it doesn’t take long for Despicable Me 2 to steer away from that focusing more on a different story, I’m still unsure if this film totally works but nevertheless its adorable and hilariously funny.

We once again follow the character of Gru (Steve Carell) however this time he’s retired and living a somewhat dull life where making jam is the only horrific thing the former villain is inflicting upon society causing his own professor to even leave. The film firstly opens to a group of workers being magnetically attacked and pulled up into the air in a highly comedic manner only leaving the occupant of a rent-a-loo behind. This bizarre event attracts the AVL (Anti-Villain League), in desperate need they send for an agent to hire former villain and master of mass destruction himself Gru to help them solve the case, with his new mission certainly spicing up his life it fuels for the rest of the film. Gru works alongside agent Lucy (Kristen Wiig) with their first meeting involving electrical lipstick and getting chucked into a boot of a car its safe to say there’s more than a few sparks between the two. As the plot develops a strange love story evolves surrounding the two agents, however their mission will get in their way. Investigating a number of suspects located in the local mall, including hairdressers and restaurant owners they are looking for a deadly dangerous formula however one of their leads rings bells in Gru’s head about a former legendary villain.

Although the plots are entertaining for the first half of the film there seems to be too many and its overwhelming and somewhat confusing to say the least, even for a kids film. I haven’t even mentioned the arrival of a young boy that sweeps one of Gru’s girls of her feet, the deadly crazy chicken or the mysterious case of the lovable minions disappearing quickly and bizarrely. It makes for a sloppy watch and it seems that they had too many ideas and wanted to use them all however as they eventually interlinks around the half way mark things start to be more linear and enjoyable. As Gru worries about his daughter Margo’s love life the three girls worry about his causing for some funny scenes including internet dating and impressions of Gru “pooping”, well according to Agnes. As the film draws ever so closely to an end Gru’s suspicions of the legendary villain appear to be true leading to Gru becoming an unlikely hero. The disappearance of the minions become apparent and they are soon found, but just with a different colour and sanity and as for the love story, it boils down to a predictable happy ending all providing laughs and giggles on the way.

Despicable Me was charming due to the cuteness of characters such as Agnes and the change of heart by Gru however its sequel doesn’t seem to focus or highlight this one bit. The ever so sweet Agnes is somewhat in the background as is her lovable companion Mr. Unicorn, Despicable Me 2 feels to me like a completely different film and I’m not too sure if that’s quite a good thing. However one of my favourite things about Despicable Me and I can safely speak for others too, are the cute; small, crazy minions and they are very much present and in abundance. If there’s something that saves Despicable Me 2 from being another pointless boring sequel it is the minions, when the plot seems dry they pop up with a gag or in this films case a song and dance. Despicable Me 2 very much focuses on the minion mayhem and it leads to some crazy sequences and some hilarious entertainment.

Although there are certainly tricks and elements missed by the creators of Despicable Me 2 it seems to be as you reflect you realise that you found yourself laughing more times than you think and when comparing to those bland moments it more than levels out. The quality of the animation is outstanding and completely faultless, although something you come to expect I thought its more than worth a mention. The casting as always is great, Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig as main characters were brilliant and as were the likes of Russell Brand as Dr. Nefario and Benjamin Bratt as Eduardo. The score added to the entertainment, helped of course by the adorable singing voices of the minions.

Despicable Me 2 had a lot to live up to and it was never going to be easy, it could have played it safe and writers Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul could have milked the relationship of Gru and his family even more but instead they were original and inventive and most importantly funny. Although not as cute or adorable as the first film it is certainly funnier than its prequel, with many eye-watering moments and even relatable embarrassing scenes. It has its flaws but I was left entertained and that was what its aim was, for me Despicable Me 2 is worth the watch and definitely a trip to cinema to see. Cue cheesy sign off and minions singing.

 

 

 

 

 

My Top 5 Comedy Actors

#5 Ben Stiller: There’s no surprise Ben Stiller is on my list, if there is such a thing as a “funny gene” then he’s definetly inherited it with his parents (Jerry Stiller, Anne Meara) being legendary comedians. He started his acting career in the late 1980’s and is now directing and producing his own films. If you asked someone to name some of their favourite comedies I’m sure a Ben Stiller film will creep up. Most famously known for his hilarious Zoolander (2001) and later on the likes of Meet The Fockers (2004) and Little Fockers(2010). He’s also featured in one of my favourite comedies There’s Something About Mary (1998). He most certainly deserves his place on this list, after all he did create “The Derek Zoolander Center For Children Who Can’t Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too”.

#4 Steve Carell: Personally Steve Carell is one of my favourite actors as he’s just brilliant and hilarious, breaking through into the acting world in the 1990’s he’s been a prestigious face for the last decade. I don’t think you’ll find a un-funny film that’s he’s done. Winner of a Golden Globe and voted funniest man on Life Magazine there’s no surprise he’s on this list. His most well known films being Crazy Stupid Love(2011) , The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005)and Anchorman (2004) topping a huge list of amazing comedies. His performance in Crazy Stupid Love is amazing and his role as Brick in Anchorman is hilarious and makes the film. When it comes to jokes and acting silly Steve Carell is certainly the guy to come to and well he’s a lover of lamp and desk and ummm carpet.

#3 Paul Rudd: He’s usually the guy hidden behind bigger stars and he doesn’t get the credit he deserves, but for me he’s brilliant and one of the funniest guys in the business who has a smart head on him, writing and producing some amazing films. Playing background roles in films such as Anchorman (2004), The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005) and Knocked Up (2007) he eventually made his name to get lead roles. Writing and staring in the amazingly successful comedy Role Models (2008) and Dinner For Schmucks (2010). His performance in films such as Role Models and even in I Love You, Man (2009) were very impressive and had my eyes watering from laughter. I’m glad he didn’t stick to his previous occupation of a DJ as he’s one of the funniest guys around, making him deserve his place on my list.

#2 Seth Rogen: A former stand up comedian as a teenager he is now staring, writing and producing some of the best comedies around. With his recognisable laugh and hair he is definitely a popular guy. Breaking into the industry with films such as Knocked Up and Pineapple Express (2008) he has really made a name for himself, for me Pineapple Express is an amazing film and Seth Rogen is hilarious in it, also showing of his talents by writing the screenplay. He’s been nominated for a Primetime Emmy and is definitely now a well known star, also releasing this years hit comedy “This Is The End”. For the countless times he’s made me cry with laughter and for the films he’s made funny, and made in general he deserves his spot on the list at number two.

#1 Will Ferrell: At number one of my list and probably on many peoples lists is Will Ferrell, his curly hair has been on screen for a while now and he’s featured in an amazing amount of comedies. His most remembered being Anchorman where he plays the lead character of Ron Burgandy and Step Brothers(2008). Just like other top actors he is behind the writing and producing of his own films showing off his many talents. He is also the man behind my favourite Christman film “Elf” (2003) where he is unbelievably funny playing Buddy, and also one of my other favourite comedies such The Other Guys(2010). If Will Ferrell is in a film then it will certainly be funny and one to watch, nominated for two Golden Globes he is certainly a favourite with the public as well. Its safe to say I love Will Ferrell just as much as he loves scotch, scothcy scotch scotch.

Anchorman (2004)

Genre: Comedy

Director: Adam McKay
Writers: Will Ferrell, Adam McKay
Staring: Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Christina Applegate
Rating: ★★★★
Anchorman is possibly the godfather of the current “teenage” generation, sad but true. It’s hugely hilarious with an amazing well known cast also featuring many cameo performances from comedy stars I will not mention. Set in a news station it stereotypes and mocks what happens on the news, from those cheesy smile credits to the friendly chats after the sign off. It takes an opportunity to show the viewers what they might not see on the news, behind the cameras, but of course this is a comedy and you can’t believe everything you see on TV.
The story focuses on San Diego’s popular news Anchor Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell),
He’s a master of the jazz flute, winner of 5 Emmy’s and has a woman as a co anchor, wait did someone say Women! Trouble arises as manager Ed Harken (Fred Willard) decides he wants some diversity and hires Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate), who aspires to be a network anchor. Scared cause “their menstruation attracts bears” the act of sabotage begins from the San Diego news men but the woman fight back.
The male news team consist of very well known comedy actors, Steve Carell plays  Brick Tamland, the weather man with a grenade in his pocket. There’s also Brian Fantana and Champ Kind (Paul Rudd, David Koechner) and the four together occasionally go suit shopping and sing afternoon delight. It would be boring eventually and unfair to get all the laughs in this film from mocking the stupidity of the news team. So Anchorman focuses on Ron Burgundy and Veronica. They get close and into a relationship, taking trips to pleasure town but when work gets in the way they turn bitter and their actions have costly consequences and Ron loses his job, will Ron and Veronica get back together and things go back to usual? Stay tuned San Diego.
The laughs in this film are big and there are plenty off them. Some films go too far and try too hard for laughs being somewhat stupid and silly, however despite Anchorman doing this, they do it well and you can’t stop yourself from laughing. As mentioned before there are a number of cameo performances from other well known comedy actors, they all meet in a Network standoff free-for all and well things escalate quickly. I love this film like I love lamp and scotch, you’ll find yourself laughing and eventually quoting it every time you put it on and I personally think its the best comedy in the last decade for sure. If you haven’t already seen Anchorman you’re missing out, it’s definitely a must watch comedy.