In her review of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, Dana Stevens noted the film’s joke-a-minute structure, which leads to some moments of undeniable hilarity. “But,” Stevens wrote, screenwriters “[Adam] McKay and [Will] Ferrell’s method of throwing every possible joke at the wall and seeing what sticks also results in a lot of joke-spaghetti slowly sliding to the floor.”
Well, get ready for more joke-spaghetti: Next Friday, for one week only, Anchorman 2 will receive a re-release, with nearly every joke from the original (95 percent, according to McKay) swapped out for new ones. Its official title will be Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues: Super-Sized R-Rated Version.
The idea has been floated for a while: Back in October, McKay said they were working on a new version with “250 more jokes,” and expressed his hoped it could get a few midnight showings. As it happens, the new cut will get much more than that, in terms of both screenings and new jokes: There are 763 of the latter, or at least so the trailer claims.
McKay, who spoke with the New York Times, says the initial plan was to follow the standard formula for major-release comedies (including the first Anchorman film), where the outtakes and unused shots are tagged on as DVD extras and added to an extended, unrated version. But eventually, the editing team decided to do a complete overhaul of all the jokes, and then Paramount Pictures pushed for a theatrical rerelease.
The large-scale theatrical rerelease—it will appear on 1,000 screens—is the one new frontier here. The Times cites What’s Up, Tiger Lily?, a movie Woody Allen made by overdubbing a Japanese film, as a very loose precedent. Not mentioned by the Times is the straight-to-DVD Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie, which, like the upcoming rerelease of the Anchorman sequel, used extra footage left behind in the final edit. (In contrast to the upcoming edition, the storyline was also new.)
McKay called this new movie a “Frankenstein version,” and doesn’t think it’s an improvement upon the original. But what can you expect? Back in December, Jonah Weiner wrote a feature for Rolling Stone about the Anchorman sequel and the people behind it; the piece quoted some outtakes verbatim. (Note: The following may not be enjoyed by those who are not fond of exceedingly crude humor.)
Ferrell: "The other day, I pleasured myself to Mrs. Butterworth."
McKay, building on this: "And she got me there."
Ferrell: "She got me there fast!"…"Talk about a river of ejaculate"…
McKay: "It was as if someone shot a bucketful of paste with a shotgun."
Ferrell: "It was like somebody dumped a bucket of corn chowder into an industrial fan!"
Rudd's eyes start tearing up. McKay, not missing a beat: "It was like someone gutted a shark over a marble floor."
Ferrell, bellowing: "It was like goddamn Krakatoa in my pants!"
Carell is convulsing. The take is a goner. But Ferrell is having too much fun to stop. "Now I know what those sad villagers in Pompeii felt like!" he says. "Except, instead of hot lava raining down, I rained down frothy ejaculate!"
For those interested in more of this, the Super-Sized, R-Rated Version should be perfect.