After promising teasers, the first trailer for Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues has been released and it’s already quotable. This is the measure of a good comedy—not necessarily a good movie, but a good comedy—how often and how long you can quote it. Let’s call it…The Quotability Index. A movie like Tropic Thunder is very (VERY) funny, but it’s not terribly quotable, so its Index rating is like, 1. Zoolander, however, is not only highly quotable even twelve years later but has also contributed several phrases to our pop-culture lexicon, most notably “Blue Steel”, so it’s a perfect 10. That’s our scale.
Anchorman is about an 8 on that scale. It’s highly quotable, and “you stay classy” is ubiquitous now. Based on this first trailer for the sequel, which made me laugh out loud continuously throughout the dinner table scene (everyone’s FACES), Anchorman 2 could easily match that 8. The delivery is killer on everything they’ve included here, but the reaction shots are just as good.
Will Ferrell’s early movies had the air of a happy accident about them, like he was just goofing off with his friends and ended up striking comedic gold repeatedly in the early aughts. Of course that’s not the case; comedy is never that easy, but you never felt the work that had to go into movies like Old School and Anchorman.
Anchorman 2, though, has a workmanlike air about it. Not that it seems belabored—it doesn’t. This is a group of very funny people who have a lot of fun together and that natural ease and chemistry shows. But there are clear comedic conceits here, like that dinner table scene. You can see someone saying, “Hey, what about Ron in a Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner scenario?” and then this is the result. Anchorman had a freewheeling randomness to it, but the sequel feels a touch calculated. I can’t decide if being aware of the effort will hurt or help the movie. Still, since I was laughing pretty hard at the trailer, for now I feel okay about it.
And once again, Paul Rudd doesn’t have to say anything to make me laugh.
Attached -- Will Ferrell arriving at Heathrow last week, totally inconspicuous.