Do Will Ferrell Movies Do Better When They Are Better?

12/20/2013 2:24 PM |

anchorman 2 will ferrell adam mckay

Anchorman: The Legend Continues: Comedy sequels are notoriously difficult to nail; a run of bad and/or poor-performing followups in the 80s and 90s seem to have limited studio, talent, and audience interest in them even during this boom decade-plus for franchises of any size or shape. There are, of course, comedy franchises like the Austin Powers, Fockers, and Hangover movies, but consider the amount of money collectively generated by Ben Stiller, Will Ferrell, Adam Sandler, and Jim Carrey (probably the four biggest names in big-screen comedy of the past 20 years), and then count up the sequels they’ve collectively toplined: seven, counting Anchorman 2 and next year’s Dumb and Dumber To, and three of those come from Stiller (including a Night at the Museum follow-up that’s as much fantasy-adventure as anything else). I have utmost faith in Ferrell and his cowriter/director/comedic soulmate Adam McKay, though, because they made not just Anchorman but also Talladega Nights, Step Brothers, and The Other Guys, as good examples of integrating the improv sensibility into filmed comedy as anything I’ve seen. I also look forward to Anchorman 2 making a crazy amount of money and therefore continuing the general trend of Ferrell’s movies doing best at the box office when they’re of higher quality; it sounds simple, but it sure as hell doesn’t hold true for Stiller, Sandler, or Carrey. A world where a Ferrell/McKay joint qualifies as one of the big sure-thing event movies of the holiday season can’t be too bad.