It's been nine years since Will Ferrell created the character of Ron Burgundy, a clueless anchorman who cares more about the condition of his hair than the content of his newscasts in ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES.
The 2013 sequel gets lots of laughs for the first hour or so, but then the film loses its satiric edge and the jokes start falling flat.
Producer: We're starting a 24 hour news channel and we want you.
Ron: I'm gonna do the thing that god put Ron Burgundy on this earth to do: have salon quality hair and read the news.
It's the 1980's in new York. Ron and his team get hired to do a middle-of-the-night shift. Their goal is to avoid boring the audience even if that means not broadcasting what people need to know.
Paul Rudd character: What if we show a porno instead of the news?
Fred: No, absolutely not.
Brick (Steve Carrell): Let's take a look at the big map. Where's the map?
Ron: Look at the monitor.
Brick: Uh, where's my legs, Ron? I don't have any legs, Ron!
(He screams and falls.)
You get the idea. ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES is nothing if not silly to the point of absurdity, but if you enjoy that kind of humor, the movies is worth seeing. Just don't be surprised when the film goes completely off the rails in the second half.
THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY is based on the famous 1939 short story by humorist James Thurber. Ben Stiller plays a nerdy guy who fantasizes that he's a hero.
But only the basic concept of the original story remains unchanged here. This Walter Mitty is a darkroom manager at "Life" Magazine, a hapless, awkward, socially inept fellow who's attracted to the fellow employee played by Kristen Wiig but can only fantasize about getting close to her. He imagines himself as an Arctic explorer who drops out of the sky and meets her in front of the office elevator.
Mitty's plight strikes me as both amusing and touching, but instead of sticking with the character's rich fantasy life, the movie sets out to transform this meek worker bee into a real man of action.
And that turns the movie into a preposterous shaggy dog story that isn't nearly as inventive as Mitty's entertaining fantasies.
The movie has a sweet, satisfying ending, but the confident new person Mitty becomes is no more real to me than his fantasies.
Still, I'd choose his movie over Ron Burgundy's any day.
Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now. firstname.lastname@example.org