Beacon Journal popular culture writer
One thing we can be sure of about Anchorman 2: It was not too tightly written.
The sequel to the 2004 film reunited the original cast (Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, David Koechner and Christina Applegate) and then apparently just let any possible joke go flying. We know this because a new Blu-ray combo pack includes three different versions: the PG-13 theatrical release, which ran just under two hours; an unrated cut that is about four minutes longer; and a “super-sized,” R-rated version which received a limited theatrical release and promises 763 jokes not included in the PG-13 version. That cut is two hours and 23 minutes long.
Why 763 jokes? Were 750 too few? Eight hundred too many? Were there really 763 jokes too good to keep on the cutting room floor? Hardier souls than I sat through the PG-13 and R-rated versions, and judgments were somewhat mixed. But that’s usually the case when you get into the outrageous fringes of Ferrell’s comedy.
Still, this feels like the perfect movie for home viewing, when you can take the sketch-like comedy in smaller doses — or go back and forth between the various versions. It’s not as if this was some kind of sacred movie text — like, say, Star Wars, where purists howled over George Lucas’s later modifications. This is more about taking a carefree, ridiculous comedy and milking it for every possible laugh. Or 763 laughs.
The Blu-ray combo pack (Paramount, $39.99) includes not only the three versions in HD but also a DVD of the theatrical version and a digital download. There are also many extras, including audio commentary, bloopers, featurettes, and still more extended and alternate scenes. The DVD of the theatrical version is also sold separately ($29.99) with no extras.
Also coming Tuesday is Broadchurch: The Complete First Season (Entertainment One, eight episodes, $39.98 standard DVD), which is noteworthy for several reasons. For one, it made a lot of critics’ best-of-2013 lists and included a terrific performance by David Tennant, known to some viewers as the 10th doctor on Doctor Who. Here he plays a detective investigating the death of a boy in a seaside town in England.
Tennant will also star in the American version of the series, renamed Gracepoint, which is due to air on Fox next season. Olivia Colman, who plays another investigator in Broadchurch (and is also quite good), will be succeeded by Anna Gunn of Breaking Bad in the American version. And a second season of Broadchurch is in the works, with Colman returning but Tennant’s involvement uncertain.
The DVD adds a making-of piece and deleted scenes.
Down video road: True Detective, the well-regarded series starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, will be on Blu-ray, DVD and digital download on June 10. Harrelson and McConaughey play two Louisiana detectives whose lives are changed by their investigation of a prostitute’s murder.
Her, the intriguing tale of technology and human connection, comes to DVD, Blu-ray and digital on May 13. With an Oscar-winning screenplay by Spike Jonze (who also directed), it stars Joaquin Phoenix as a man who begins to form an emotional attachment to his new operating system (voiced by Scarlett Johannson).
The documentary American Masters: Billie Jean King will be on DVD on April 22. The same date brings the DVD release of The Address, Ken Burns’ film about the Gettysburg Address and a Vermont school where students memorize and recite the speech.
Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal and Ohio.com, including the HeldenFiles Online blog, www.ohio.com/blogs/heldenfiles. He is also on Facebook and Twitter. You can contact him at 330-996-3582 or firstname.lastname@example.org.