Friday, January 07, 2005

Wake Up, Ron Burgundy
Review by Sombrero Grande

When I mused in my Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy review that I suspected we’d see a lot of deleted scenes packaged with the film’s DVD release, I had no idea there would be enough for a whole ‘nother feature-length presentation. I also had no idea that said feature would be a steaming, festering pile of unfunny crap.

DVD release gimmicks are getting out of hand, people. There are currently four different DVDs available for those looking to purchase the hilarious Anchorman: the “as-seen-in-theaters” version (which is only available in full-screen--thanks for nothing, DreamJerks), the unnecessary and gratuitous full-screen “Unrated, Uncut and Uncalled For Edition,” widescreen “Unrated…Edition,” and the “Giftset” edition which includes the widescreen Unrated version and a second “movie” called Wake Up, Ron Burgundy. Whew. You still with me after that sentence? Good, ‘cause I’ve got something important to say now. For the past two weeks I’ve looked high and low on the Internet trying to find a review of this second film to see if it lives up to the hilarity of Anchorman and found nothing. I came very, very close to actually purchasing said Giftset, second film unseen, several times, folks. I mean, the first movie was so funny, how could Wake Up, Ron Burgundy disappoint if it was really “more of the same?”

You know, America, there are times in every serious movie reviewer’s life when he realizes his civic duty and throws himself onto a live grenade for the greater good. Remember this day, America, as a day when Sombrero Grande took a bullet for you. I have seen Wake Up, Ron Burgundy, and no matter how much you may have enjoyed Anchorman, I cannot urge you strongly enough to run away from Wake Up, Ron Burgundy as fast as you can. Avoid it like the plague. Avert your eyes like Indiana Jones and Marion at the opening of the Ark of the Covenant or Wake Up, Ron Burgundy will seriously ruin your evening.

You owe me, America, for the review I am about to impart.

Normally, deleted and extended scenes get plopped onto a DVD’s “bonus features” menu and are good for perhaps a chuckle or two or a peek at the process of honing a film to its finished state. Apparently, Anchorman needed a whole lot of honing. As it turns out, Anchorman originally had an entire alternate storyline instead of the whole panda birth scenario. And guess what? That storyline really, really sucked. Watching this dismally amateurish mash-mash masquerading as a storyline made me sorry that the DVD format was ever invented. A group of “political” bank robbers, calling themselves “The Alarm Clock,” hatch a plan to take over TV to give their message to the world…or something like that. This group is painfully unfunny and has no real purpose other than to laboriously push the action achingly forward. The one joke here is that this group wants to send their message to the world but they haven’t yet figured out what that message is. Ha ha. That’s it. There’s not even a slightly developed character among them or a slightly humorous moment involving them. Whoever thought these characters and this scenario was good enough to film should not be allowed to follow dogs on their walks with a camera as he will most likely waste whole reels of celluloid recording their droppings.

Wake Up, Ron Burgundy is really just a glorified string of alternate takes and deleted-for-good-reason scenes that puts up a tiny effort to look like something else. The fact that it is advertised with the tagline “The Adventure Continues” is insulting. Heavy narration tries to paint this as a sequel when it’s plainly obvious to anyone who saw the first film that these are merely alternate takes as soon as the pool party scene starts. I say these are “deleted-for-good-reason scenes” because they just aren’t funny. Even Steve Carell as Brick, who had me in stitches in the first movie, couldn’t find a way to tickle my funny bone this time around. Perhaps one reason why the movie is so stiflingly unfunny is because, since it’s merely a pieced-together muddle of footage, the timing that is so vitally important to comedy is nonexistent here. Scene after scene plods by like a parade of dying animals. Wake Up, Ron Burgundy commits the worst comedy sin of all in that it becomes boring. Doze-off boring. And it keeps getting worse. By the end, Wake Up, Ron Burgundy becomes excruciatingly painful to watch. Watching Will Ferrell as Ron babbling incoherently without his teleprompter for endless minutes was so unbearable I began to wish I was instead watching someone undergo eye surgery.

When I reviewed Anchorman, I said, “If you like your humor served with a heaping portion of silliness, you have NO legitimate excuse not to immediately run out to see this film.” I now wish to add to that, “If you value your time on this Earth, you have NO legitimate excuse to ever inflict Wake Up, Ron Burgundy upon yourself.” After word of my review gets out I have no doubt Wake Up, Ron Burgundy will gain an immense cult following among sadomasochists. “No, no, honey. Not the Exacto blade-tipped cat-o-nine-tails again. Put Wake Up, Ron Burgundy into the DVD player. I want you to hurt me BAD tonight.”

As I limp away from Wake Up, Ron Burgundy whimpering, I repeat once again, you owe me, America.


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