Will Ferell’s 2004 comedy Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy set the template for many a Ferrell laugh-fest to follow, in addition to becoming one of the most (over-)quoted American comedies in recent memory. Now Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is upon us, with the sequel picking up in (sorta) real-time as Ron (Ferell) and his news team – ladies man Brian Fontana (Paul Rudd), dim bulb weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carell) and macho sports guy Champ Kind (David Koechner) – reassemble, in order to lead the way for New York’s first 24 hours-news channel… and confront their old adversary: diversity.
Thus far, trailers for the Anchorman sequel have managed to dance around spoiling the plot or too many jokes from the film, much to the content of fans who’d rather go in knowing as little as possible. Understandable, since much of the charm of the original movie comes form having little to no clue about the madness that ensues when Ferrell and his costars (with assistance from Ferrell’s co-writer and director, Adam McKay) get together to improv on set – and it’ll be even harder for the followup to meet expectations, now that we’ve all spent the past nine years listening to endless re-quotes about Sex Panther, kodiak bears, pirate hookers and what San Diego really means in Spanish.
The full-length U.S. trailer for The Legend Continues makes an admirable go at getting everyone psyched to see Burgundy and friends back in action, be they taking bowling balls and scorpions to the head or trying to figure out the difference between vampires and homosexuals. Unfortunately, there’s also a distinct whiff of Austin Powers sequel syndrome to the footage shown here, with respect to just how many of the jokes are direct callbacks to lines and/or scenarios from the first Anchorman movie (Ron mindlessly blurting out “Black!” even directly recalls the Mole bit from Austin Powers in Goldmember).
By comparison, the international trailer offers plenty of different footage, but takes a similar approach to marketing the Anchorman sequel – right down to a retread of the Sex Panther gag, with Brian recommending that Brick use his personal favorite condom brand, “The Hooded Guest,” due to its “effectiveness.” Both trailers also suggest that Carell’s increase in star power since the first movie have led to Brick’s screen time getting beefed up – which may or may not be a good thing, depending on how sustainable that (so far, one-note) character’s humor proves to be.
On the other hand, since there’s not a whole lot of overlap between the two previews, it may be a testament to the sheer amount of improvised material that McKay and his cast shot – featuring more alternate takes on the same joke and/or scenario than you can shake a stick at – and thus, a possible indicator that only the better portions of the trailers will make the actual final movie cut (which, if you recall, was also the case with the original Anchorman‘s marketing).
Similarly, most of the sequel’s potential scene-stealing cameo players have been kept firmly undercover so far, with the exception of Harrison Ford as a (What else?) cantankerous elder news reporter. In fact, there are so many new additions to the sequel – including Kristin Wiig (Bridesmaids) as Brick’s love interest and Megan Good (Think Like a Man) as a new sexual harassment lawsuit in the waiting for Ron – alongside the returning players (including, Christina Applegate as Mrs. Burgundy/Veronica Corningstone), that it’s near-impossible to say for certain who will and won’t end up on the cutting room floor, as far as the supporting cast goes.
In other words, regardless of whether you love what has been shown from The Legend Continues so far – or are worried that the sequel is being released past its expiration date – you should keep the faith a little longer, because there’s a very good chance that the best has yet to be unveiled (literally).
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues opens in theaters on December 20th, 2013.