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  • Writer's pictureCollin Souter

eFilmcritic Archive: "Wake Up, Ron Burgundy" (2004)

I’ll never forget when I first saw the Will Farrell comedy “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” and how I couldn’t stop laughing during its 90+ minute running time. I loved the characters, the way director Adam McKay captured the time period without calling attention to the radical differences between then and now and, of course, the anchorman rumble, which could very well have been the funniest scene of the year. My heart sank when I saw that America didn’t share my sentiment. The movie didn’t rake in much, but what did I expect? It’s absurdist humor. You either get it or you don’t. Those of us who got it and love it are in for a treat.

“Wake Up, Ron Burgundy” is quite a Christmas gift. It arrives on DVD packaged with the original “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” and could very well be the first movie comprised solely of outtakes. It’s hard to write a review for a movie that can be categorized as both a sequel and a re-make, but that’s essentially what this is. It’s an all new feature-length adventure with a thin storyline just like the original.

In fact, much of this sequel plays out just like the original, from the development of Burgundy’s relationship with Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) to Burgundy getting fired from the station. To fans of the original, much of this will be very familiar, but you’ll notice different takes and variations. It’s a bit choppier than the original and wouldn’t make for a good movie on its own, but do you really care? Probably not. Here’s what you need to know: IT’S HILARIOUS!

I can probably just end the review right there. If you’re a fan, but you’re not sure about this second movie and not sure you want to spend the extra $10 for the new movie, SPEND IT! It’s worth it, if for no other reason than to watch the scene in which Burgundy must improvise the news without the teleprompter. Now, if this came out as an ordinary sequel that we actually had to wait for and this was the script they cranked out and they actually set out to make this movie, I might not be this forgiving. That’s part of the beauty here. It’s almost critic-proof.

As I said, much of “Wake Up” features the same storylines as the original, but the overall story centers around a pacifist terrorist organization—featuring Kevin Corrigan, Maya Rudolph, Amy Poehler and Chuck D—called The Alarm Clock, who plan to use the media to expose lies and corruption in the world (a la The Weather Underground). They have no real plan and can’t even pull off a bank robbery, but the group leader is working on their manifesto. Corningstone has the scoop on this story, but Burgundy and his team of idiots steal the lead and try to make the story their own.

It’s easy to see why they nixed this storyline from the original movie. In fact, “Wake Up” stops dead in its tracks whenever it focuses on The Alarm Clock. It’s not quite as interesting or as funny as the war of the sexes storyline that dominated the original. But then, no one is out to top the original. Narrator Bill Curtis, whose role has been enlarged to fill in many of the narrative gaps, explains that this movie is a “story forever lost in the sands of time,” one that was discarded after negative responses from test audiences.

Suffice it to say, this is one of the most generous DVD extras ever. It’s a pleasure to have this new version out there now that I have much of the original movie committed to memory. It’s filled with enough brilliant moments to justify its existence as a sequel/remake. The dream sequence of Ron and Veronica married with children, the scene in which Champ Kind (David Koechner) must explain what “time of the month” means and the hysterical outtake of Ron driving Veronica on their first date all rank up there with the best moments of the original. You could just buy the original, but why? Buy the 2-pack and stay classy!

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