Full ‘Anchorman 2’ Trailer Voids Any Hope For Funny Sequel

In the pantheon of somewhat amusing things run into the ground by an appalling fan base, the first Anchorman film certainly has a place of pride. Its admittedly enjoyable premise—satirizing the sexual mores of the 1970s with three-degrees less subtlety than Mad Men employs when mocking the 1960s—became something for fratty, Family Guy-watching bros to quote without the slightest sense of irony. Anchorman 2 should almost definitely make things worse.

Even for a sequel, the set-up here is drab: instead of the 1970s, it’s the 1980s, because times change and also they ran out of 1970s jokes in the first movie. The original news team—Ron, Champ, Brian and Brick, and maybe the newswoman played by Christina Applegate, if they remember—set out to create a 24-hour news channel, so expect lots of potshots at CNN. Thankfully, the network fully deserves them.

The flip side to this plot is Will Ferrell’s terminally-oblivious Ron Burgundy is dating a black woman, which gives him the opportunity to spout racist commentary at dinner with her extended family. Humor! What remains to be seen is which of the seemingly hundreds of cameos will be worst: the cast, according to IMDb, includes Nicole Kidman, Liam Neeson, Kirsten Dunst, Sacha Baron Cohen, Harrison Ford, Kanye West, Greg Kinnear, Tina Fey, and Amy Poehler, none of whom exactly need to lend their name to trash like this. Okay, maybe Kanye. 

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Paul Rudd Shows off New Cologne in ‘Anchorman 2’ Trailer

Once upon a time, there was a San Diego anchorman named Ron Burgundy, and a movie called Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, and the phenomenon launched a myriad of catchphrases that spread across frat parties and Facebook pages faster than cold germs on a commuter train. This December, Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, David Koechner, Paul Rudd and Christina Applegate return to the big screen as San Diego’s finest news team.

The former four appear in the latest teaser for the film, done up in their news team finery and offering sound advice, as well as iterations of beloved tropes from the last movies. Paul Rudd’s Brian Fantana has swapped out the pungent and 60% irresistible Sex Panther for a new cologne, called "Venom," that is literally just snake venom. And, fresh off his The Office encore appearance, Carell reprises another beloved role, Brick Tamland, offering some sound advice and wishing everyone a Happy Easter. Watch the trailer below, and brace yourselves for the catchphrases, hype and the existential dread that comes with a new onslaught of parody Twitter accounts, that will appear in the months to come.

Aubrey Plaza Kicked Out of MTV Movie Awards

Something pretty unfunny happened at the MTV Movie Awards last night: all of it. In particular there was one incident that, whether planned or not, was so painfully awkward as to make even Will Ferrell seem to regret his involvement—to say nothing of a wholly disinterested Peter Dinklage in the background.

Here’s how Deadline Hollywood tells it:

Will Ferrell was accepting the Comedic Genius Award at tonight’s MTV Movie Awards. Suddenly he had company onstage—Parks & Recreation’s Aubrey Plaza. She ran up and tried to wrestle the award out of Ferrell’s hands. Apparently, it was to hype her own upcoming movie—the August comedy from CBS Films, The To-Do List—whose title was written across her chest.

Aubrey herself seemed pretty dissatisfied with the stunt, if you could call it that, after returning (temporarily) to her seat as if it had all been a big stupid double-dare. In sum, however, a humanizing moment for everyone: even veteran comics can botch their material with all the quiet desperation of an improv 101 class performing for their silent parents. 

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Linkage: A Successful Golden Globes, a Zack Snyder ‘Star Wars,’ and New Natalie Wood Evidence

It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, but last night’s Golden Globes were a big hit. The combination of nominated movies that people actually saw and liked as well as the pairing of beloved stars Tina Fey and Amy Poehler as the co-hosts brought in the biggest ratings in six years. Maybe that’ll be a lesson to the honchos who were sure that a surly British man who has had success in his homeland and on American cable might not have the biggest draw compared to two funny ladies who have captured our collective hearts for years. [EW]

No matter how you feel about Jodie Foster, Anne Hathaway, or Fey and Poehler appearance at last night’s Golden Globes, let’s all agree that Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig could probably knock the socks off all of us if they ever got the chance to host an awards show. [Hypervocal]

“Sure, it’s fine to joke about Meryl Streep always winning everything, but announcing, "I beat Meryl"? When you’re 22 and you’ve been in Hollywood for, like, a minute? Not very classy, Jen.” Seems like someone didn’t catch Jennifer Lawrence’s subtle First Wives Club reference last night. [Fox News]

My apologies to Star Wars fans, particularly those who prefer subtlety over slow-motion bouncing boobs (I’m sure there are maybe four of you): Zack Snyder, who is responsible for 300 and that giant blue penis we had to look at in Watchmen, is developing a project for Lucasfilm that will be a “Jedi epic loosely based on Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 classic Seven Samurai.” [Vulture]

Woody Allen, who prefers the term “alarmist” over “hypochondriac,” might be one of the few people in history who has written personally about hickeys in The New York Times. [NYT]

Last year, investigators reopened the case of Natalie Wood’s mysterious death, and it seems that there may be new evidence to support the claim that the actress was assaulted. [CBS]

It’s pretty obvious that Andy Cohen is perhaps the only person who can name all of the songs that fit into the Real Housewives genre of music, right? [Gawker]

AV Club offers a fantastic look at A Different World, which began as a Cosby Show spin-off and settled on its own as a top-ten primetime hit. Why hasn’t a predominantly African-American sitcom performed nearly as well in years since? [AV Club]

It’s finally time to throw out those dusty boxes of Rid you’ve been hiding under the sink, ladies. The rise in Brazilian waxes has, in turn, brought a decline in pubic lice. [Jezebel]

Do you like great writing and intelligent thoughts? Do you appreciate it when those things are delivered right to you, via your smartphone? Might I suggest you subscribe to Maura Magazine, the new product from former Village Voice music editor and brilliant badass Maura Johnston. [The Awl]

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Upcoming Hurricane Sandy Benefits Shows From Aziz Ansari, Neil Young, Grizzly Bear, and More

If you still want to help out East Coasters affected by Hurricane Sandy and do so in an environment with adult beverages and high-caliber entertainment, this week, a couple more enticing Sandy benefits have been announced. So if you’re looking for something to do next week and live in the greater New York, Atlantic City, or Los Angeles areas, here you go.

Neil Young and Crazy Horse will perform in Atlantic City on December 6th at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, with proceeds going to the Red Cross.

On December 10th, a group of comedians you might recognize are getting together for “We Hate Hurricanes,” a night of comedy to benefit the victims of Hurricane Sandy at L.A.’s Nokia Theater. The venerable Jon Hamm is emceeing the event, with headliners Aziz Ansari, Will Ferrell, Sarah Silverman, and music from Beck along with even more acts. All proceeds from the show will go to AmeriCares, and pre-sale tickets go on sale today; general sale starts tomorrow.

One of the biggest announced shows is the 12/12/12 benefit gig for the Robin Hood Relief Fund, on December 12th at Madison Square Garden. The headliners play like an all-star Super Bowl halftime show: Kanye West, Alicia Keys, Paul McCartney, Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, The Who, Eddie Vedder, Dave Grohl, and, of course, Bruce Springsteen. If you still want to help out and rock out but the idea of a Bon Jovi show at the Garden sounds a bit too overwhelming, New York’s Terminal 5 is hosting a “4Artists1Cause” benefit on December 14th, featuring performances from Grizzly Bear, Sleigh Bells, Antlers, and Cults. More acts will be announced soon. Tickets are $40, with proceeds going to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City

‘Bachelorette’ Writer/Director Leslye Headland Gets TV Deal

Leslye Headland, who wrote and directed the raucous comedy, Bachelorette, told me a few weeks ago, "Fingers crossed, I’ll get to do more, but most female filmmakers don’t even last three movies." Well, she’s not limiting herself to the film industry, as one of her plays—also in her Seven Deadly Sins cycle—is being developed into a series for NBC.

Assistance, inspired by her time working for Harvey Weinstein at Miramax, premiered at New York’s Playwrights Horizons this past February, is headed to the network. The project is being produced by Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Jessica Elbaum, and Owen Burke. Here’s how Playbill describes the source material:

For these young assistants, life is an endless series of humiliations at the hands of their hellacious boss, a powerful uber-magnate. In rare moments of calm when the phone calls stop rolling, Nick and Nora and their traumatized co-workers question whether all their work will lead to success—or just more work. [It’s] a biting, high-octane satire about our attraction to power and what we’re willing to sacrifice to stay in its orbit.

Contact the author of this post at tcoates@bbook.com, and follow him on Twitter.

Your Pre-Weekend Diversion: Will Ferrell Has Feelings About ‘Twilight’ Stars’ Breakup

It’s been a week or so, so whatever emotions you had—be they extreme bawwwwing or general apathy—over the breakup of Twilight stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, have probably come to pass. You’re also probably not a Saturday Night Live alum trying to sell his latest movie during an interview with Conan on his titular late-night talk show.

While promoting The Campaign Thursday night, Will Ferrell visited Conan and had a lot of things to get off his chest about the R-Patz/K-Stew breakup. Deadpan news-breaking occurs, followed by the waterworks, followed by shouting, followed by portmanteaus, most notably "Trampire." Ferrell also expresses his feeling directly responsible for said breakup and wishing he could have done more. Looks like the nation will still need a little more time to heal. 

Goodnight everybody, and have a great weekend! 

Zach Galifianakis, John Belushi and A Confederacy of Ignatius Reillys

Vulture reports tonight that James Bobin, co-creator of Flight of the Conchords and director of The Muppets, will be bringing an adaptation of John Kennedy Toole’s great American comedy, A Confederacy of Dunces, to a theatre/illegal torrent/eventual Netflix queue near you. Phil Johnston, who wrote the well-received Fox Searchlight comedy Cedar Rapids, has been named as the writer, and Bobin believes he has found an actor to handle the role of the lumbering, quixotic madman at the novel’s beating heart, Ignatius J. Reilly, in Zach Galifianakis. 

The news will likely please / outrage fans of the book (and of comedy at large) who have been waiting to see / dreading Dunces translated to the big screen, but not so fast—the novel, itself a comedy wrapped in personal tragedy with a larger-than-life character at its center that may prove ambitious for even seasoned comic talent, has had a long and extremely bumpy road to the cinema, and may, some say, be more haunted than an above-ground New Orleans cemetery. 

For your references, a brief timeline of the novel and its proposed and alleged adapations:

1706 – Irish satirist and modest proposer Jonathan Swift writes Thoughts on Various Subjects, Moral and Diverting. In it, one will find the iconic line, "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign: that the dunces are all in confederacy against him."

1980 – John Kennedy Toole’s iconic satire of 1960s New Orleans and the heartwarming saga of one Ignatius J. Reilly is published more than a decade after the author’s death. A year later, the book wins the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, and the book maintains a following today.

1982 – Harold Ramis becomes the first writer-director attached to a film adaptation of the novel. Comedy icon John Belushi was the first actor cast in the role of Reilly, with Richard Pryor as the vagrant-turned-custodian Burma Jones. Belushi passed away shortly after being cast in the role. Belushi’s death, coupled with those of other actors, including John Candy and Chris Farley, who have been attached to the role, not to mention Hurricane Katrina and the author’s suicide, have all contributed to the theory that the work itself may be cursed (at least, according to Stephen Soderbergh). Later, John Waters also mentioned interest in adapting the novel, with his Pink Flamingos muse Divine as the lead. 

1995 – In the mid-to-late ’90s, British actor and writer Stephen Fry (who is very much alive and well, thank you) was working on a screenplay for an adaptation of the film and even traveled to New Orleans for research. Nothing really ever happened with this one, though.

2005 – For a while, this seemed like the one that was going to make it. Scott Kramer and Stephen Soderbergh adapted Toole’s novel into a screenplay with David Gordon Green, whose works include the beautiful cult classic George Washington and stoner comedy Pineapple Express, at the helm. The cast included Will Ferrell as Ignatius, Mos Def as Burma Jones, Lily Tomlin as Mrs. Reilly and Paul Rudd as Mancuso. However, between Hurricane Katrina and a lack of interest from the studio, the adaptation stalled. 

2012 – Word breaks of Bobin’s proposed adaptation of Dunces, starring Zach Galifianakis. And we shall see. 

The ‘Anchorman 2’ Teaser Checklist

Fans who jumped up and down like an animated gif waiting to happen after hearing the news that Will Ferrell’s beloved and oft-quoted Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy would be getting a sequel now have the delight of a teaser trailer for the film, coming in at under a minute and appearing at cinemas near you. Maybe.

The teaser for the film (due out in 2013), doesn’t include much indication as to what the plot will be. It’s just Ron Burgundy (Ferrell) and the rest of his news team doing what they do best: shooting off lines that people you dislike will put in their Facebook profiles someday.

That said, there were some lines fans will enjoy. To recap, here’s a checklist of tropes from the last film featured in this teaser:

  • Weird combovers, Greg Brady hair and ’70s threads? Check.
  • Ron Burgundy making a nonsensical motivational imperative statement? Check.
  • References to scotch? Check.
  • A same-mannequin-different-outfit reiteration of the "Invitation to the pants party" / "I love lamp" exchange? Check.
  • Steve Carell as Brick Tamland making everyone in the theatre uncomfortable? Check.
  • (Ron Burgundy addressing the people of America? Check.
  • Him telling us to "stay classy" in the process? Uncheck.)
  • Use of "Grazin’ In The Grass" by the Friends of Distinction? Check.
  • Veronica Corningstone? Uncheck, which seems pretty unfair, as the whole point of the last movie was getting them to the point of equal billing, becoming co-anchors as well as co-people.