The gaggle of goofs who gave us the legend of Ron Burgundy has done something radical: The team of Adam McKay, Will Ferrell & friends has grossly expanded, totally re-cut and pushed the Legend sequel to profane and insane extremes. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues now hurtles beyond “restricted” territory. It is now Hollywood’s naughtiest and nastiest mainstream comedy.
This extreme cut, which runs an absurd 14 seconds past the 143 minute mark, is called the Super-Sized Version. It was supposed to be distributed in select theatres across North America, but Paramount Pictures missed the mark in Canada. Now you freely have access.
Of course, it is not free. The Super-Sized Version is one of three versions loaded onto the newly released, three-disc combo pack. The set contains a single DVD, two Blu-ray discs and the Ultraviolet bonus that lets you store movies in the cloud.
The three versions step up from the theatrical (which is 65 seconds shy of two hours) to the Extended Version (which runs five seconds past 123 minutes) to the Super-Sized Version (which adds 24 minutes and 19 seconds to the original). The DVD copy offers only the tame theatrical cut; the first Blu-ray offers the theatrical and unrated cuts; and the second Blu-ray offers the Super-Sized Version. Extensive extras are spread over the two Blu-ray discs, including McKay’s feature-length commentary on the unrated Extended Version.
The radical thing about the Super-Sized Version is that director and co-writer McKay, co-writer and co-star Ferrell, plus their film editors, made a different movie out of the outtakes and alternate readings of lines. This would not be possible with most movies. But Ferrell and his core co-stars — Paul Rudd as the sexually obsessed reporter Brian Fontana, David Koechner as the sexually confused sports geek Champ Kind and a brilliantly controlled Steve Carell as idiot weatherman Brick Tamland — do improv in every scene. Ferrell’s alternate lines range into dozens, as we can see in the Blu-ray outtakes, gags reels and Line-O-Rama bits.
The filmmakers even claim there are 763 new jokes here. Initially, I thought that was just some bull that TV anchorman Ron Burgundy might have spewed on his ’70s telecasts. Now I actually believe it. But not all the new jokes are funny ... or any better than what was in the original theatrical cut. But many are ... and there is much more adult humour. For example, Fontana shows off his condom collection, recommending individual brands for disgusting reasons. Yes, it is racy and probably offensive.
Meanwhile, there is a lot less of Doby the Great White Shark, an extended musical number staged in the GNN offices, a lot more swearing and explicit jokes, more of the racially explosive dinner scene and an increase in the joke-slingin’ and weapon-swingin’ in the infamous Newsroom Gang Fight. Even the Canadian team led by Jim Carrey and Marion Cotillard get to expand their Canuck references.
Koechner opines about Canada: “Give me a break. They can’t have news. Nothing happens in Canada!”
Cotillard protests: “That’s not true. Sometimes people’s feelings get hurt.”
Carrey interjects: “... and sometimes the lake freezes!”
Carell adds a non-sequitor: “I like your ginger ale!”
Whether or not you find any of this funny, or better than in the original, depends on taste. Anchorman 2 is now more wildly uneven and random. But, if you liked The Legend Continues in theatres, you might love the Super-Sized Version in the privacy of your own home, sitting there watching with libations and snacks in hand. You might even be left slack-jawed.