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Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

Anchorman2: The Legend Continues is the 2013 sequel to Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Adam McKay returns as director and Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, David Koechner, and Christina Applegate all reprise their roles. It’s not as funny as the first one, and honestly there’s no way that it ever could have been better. The first one is a classic. This one is just a sequel. It has its moments, but it’s not as quotable and some of the jokes seem forced (like not understanding how cruise control works, what a tired gag). The movie tries too hard to be funny. They resort to recycling or paying homage to jokes from the first film, and they trot out celebrity cameos like it’s going out of style.

It spoofs the rise of 24-hour cable news networks that deliver more entertainment than actual news. There might not be much of a message, but there is a message: don’t be duped by sensationalist newscasts. Will Ferrell’s character is still funny. Paul Rudd and David Koechner’s characters are still funny. But Steve Carell’s Brick Tamland is a black hole. His character had some decent moments in the original movie, but he drags down the sequel. Ron Burgundy, Brian Fantana, and Champ Kind are all unintelligent characters because they have big egos and stubborn personalities. Brick Tamland is an unintelligent character because he is mentally handicapped. Steve Carell plays him as a retard and that’s lazy. And his whole romantic subplot with Kristen Wiig was downright stupid and unnecessary. Cool, lets hook up a retard with another retard and let hilarity ensue.

Did I enjoy this movie? Yeah, a little bit. I would only recommend it if you liked the first one. It’s not a masterpiece, but it’s not a rehash of the first one like The Hangover Part II. It’s not hard for a sequel to be better than The Hangover Part II though.

Critically Rated at 11/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby is a 2006 comedy from Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, and Judd Apatow, three of the biggest names in comedy right now. Judd Apatow produced it, Adam McKay co-wrote it and directed it, and Will Ferrell co-wrote it and stars as Ricky Bobby, a NASCAR driver who just wants to go fast. It’s your typical Will Ferrell flick, he plays a loud, ignorant manchild with delusions of grandeur. The problem begins with his absentee father (played by Gary Cole) telling a young Ricky that “if you’re not first, you’re last.” That gets stuck in his head and becomes his whole philosophy about life.

Ricky’s life seems to be going great. He’s the fastest driver in NASCAR, he has a loyal best friend (played by John C. Reilly) who is willing to take second place so that Ricky can always win, and he has a sexy wife and two kids. His is rocked by the arrival of a new racer, a flamboyant Frenchman (played by Sacha Baron Cohen) who has dominated Formula One racing. Suddenly Ricky is not number one anymore and he loses his competitive edge. His wife leaves him for his best friend. His whole life starts to fall apart.

Ricky must learn how to become Ricky Bobby again. He gets some advice and help from his estranged father and his former assistant. Gradually he regains his confidence and it culminates in a climactic showdown on the racetrack. I don’t want to give the ending away, but it’s pretty satisfying. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby isn’t the best Will Ferrell movie, but it’s probably in the top ten. It’s funny and quotable, but it’s already more dated than Anchorman and Step Brothers. I could watch Anchorman once a week and not get sick of it. I have to wait a few years before I can watch Talladega Nights again. There is also a lot of product placement in this movie. They try to make it obvious to make you think that they are making fun of it, but product placement is still product placement. At some point it stops being a Will Ferrell movie and becomes an extended commercial for Applebee’s and Mountain Dew.

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Hot Rod (film)

Hot Rod is a 2007 comedy starring Andy Samberg as Rod Kimble, an amateur stuntman desperately seeking approval from his dying stepfather. Rod spends his days doing various jumps and stunts with his inept crew, which includes his friends Rico and Dave (Danny McBride and Bill Hader) and his half-brother Kevin (Jorma Taccone). He finds out that his stepfather will die unless they somehow get $50,000 to pay for his conveniently priced surgery. Rods vows to save him so he can smash his face in and finally earn his respect. He starts doing stunts to raise money, with the ultimate goal of jumping fifteen school buses in front of a sellout crowd. There’s also a subplot involving Rod trying to get the attention of Denise (Isla Fisher), the girl next door. She’s stuck in a relationship with a douchebag (Will Arnett), but she can’t deny her attraction to Rod.

The whole movie is pretty ridiculous. It’s reminiscent of Judd Apatow movies, in that it’s character driven and highly quotable, but there are many fantastic, over the top moments. Like when the inspirational march to the final jump spontaneously erupts into chaos. Hot Rod was a box office bomb when it came out. I think the world wasn’t ready for it. It’s becoming a cult classic; some would argue it already is.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Step Brothers (film)

Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly made millions of dollars and made millions of people laugh with Talladega Nights. So it was only natural that they would reunite again, and the result is Step Brothers. Will Ferrell plays Brennan Huff, a 39-year-old man-child still living with his mom. John C. Reilly plays Dale Doback, a 40-year-old man-child still living with his dad. Their parents meet and fall in love and get married. And Brennan and Dale are now step brothers.

Director Adam McKay has a knack for comedy films. Will Ferrell is funnier when he has strong comedians backing him up. John C. Reilly is a great comedic actor, but he’s also versatile and has several more dramatic roles that showcase his acting ability. Adam Scott, Mary Steenburgen and Richard Jenkins round out the supporting cast.

It’s a pretty stupid premise: two middle-aged guys who refused to grow up suddenly become step brothers. At first they fight and feud with each other, but then they realize that they have a lot in common and become best friends. Their childish antics are too much for Dale’s dad to take and the family breaks up and Brennan and Dale are forced to grow up. Sort of. But Apatow movies always find a way to inject heart into the film and you grow to care about the characters.

When it comes to the Apatow comedies, you either love them or hate them. If you don’t like Will Ferrell’s sense of humor, you won’t like this movie. If you think he’s funny, you will like this movie. It’s 98 minutes of Will Ferrell being Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly doing a Will Ferrell impression. They adlib a lot and the dialog gets pretty out there. You can’t help but quote this movie.  It’s better than the fucking Catalina Wine Mixer.

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

Will Ferrell makes Will Ferrell movies, and Anchorman is his best. Adam McKay (Talladega Nights, Eastbound & Down) directs and co-wrote the script with Will Ferrell, who stars as stars as Ron Burgundy, the best anchorman in San Diego. Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner, and Christina Applegate costar, and Judd Apatow produces.

Ron Burgundy is the best damn anchorman in San Diego. He’s number one and isn’t afraid to let everyone know it. His Channel 4 News team is made up of meteorologist Brick Tamland (Steve Carell), sportscaster Champ Kind (David Koechner), and field reporter Brian Fontana (Paul Rudd). Brick is legally retarded, Champ has man crush on Ron Burgundy, and Brian fancies himself a ladies man, but doesn’t have much luck. It’s a happier and lighter style of reporting, showcased by the ongoing reports on Ling-Wong the pregnant panda.

Things are going great for a while, but it’s the ‘70s and times are changing. Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) is the first female reporter hired at the station, and she has to deal with the immature men and blatant sexism as she battles for respect. Her and Ron get together and start a relationship, but it’s doomed because she’s looking forward to the future and Ron is stuck in the past.

One day Ron has a run-in with an angry biker who kicks Ron’s dog Baxter off a bridge. Ron is too distraught to report the news, so Veronica fills in and nails it. Ron is hurt and betrayed that Veronica would read his news and ends their relationship. There’s no denying Veronica’s talent and she is promoted to co-anchor.

Ron and his news team try to get rid of her in various ways, but Veronica sabotages Ron’s teleprompter so that he says, “Go fuck yourself San Diego”. You generally can’t say shit like that on TV, so Ron gets fired and Veronica becomes the lead anchor.

After a few months, Ron is just a drunk, but Veronica is more famous and successful than Ron ever was. One day Ling-Wong the pregnant panda finally starts to give birth, so the all of San Diego’s media shows up for the story of the year. Veronica gets shoved into a bear pit by a rival anchor that wants a good shot of Ling-Wong giving birth. When nobody can find Veronica, Ron Burgundy gets a chance to report once again.

Ron cleans himself up and shows up at the zoo to do some anchoring, but when he sees Veronica is in trouble, he jumps into the bear pit too. And just for good measure the rest of the news team jumps in too. Just when it seems like they are completely fucked, Baxter the dog shows up again. After he got kicked off the bridge by an angry biker, he had a fantastic journey to get back to Ron. He met a bear named Katow-jo, who coincidently happens to be the bear’s cousin, and so Ron and Veronica and the Channel 4 news team is safe. Talk about deus ex machine.

Will Ferrell is hysterical but he plays the same character in every single movie. Anchorman was before he wore his shtick into the ground. But there’s no denying he is funny as hell. Anchorman would not have worked without Will Ferrell, but Paul Rudd, Steve Carell and David Koechner deserve a lot of the credit for making the movie one of the best comedies of that decade. Sex Panther… 60% of the time, it works every time. There are a lot of cameos: Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson, Jack Black, Seth Rogan, Tim Robbins, and a few other celebs make appearances. The news team showdown is one of the highlights of the movie.

Judd Apatow movies are usually always good. He track record is almost as good as Pixar’s. Drillbit Taylor sucked but Cars 2 was no gem either. This is Will Ferrell’s best movie. I can’t wait for the sequel.

Critically Rated at 15/17

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