New on DVD: Three takes on 'Anchorman 2'

Akron Beacon JournalMarch 31, 2014 


    These DVDs were released this week:

    Films: The Bag Man; 47 Ronin; At Middleton; An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story (documentary); SEAL Team 8: Behind Enemy Lines; When Jews Were Funny (documentary on Jewish comedy); The Pirate Fairy (Disney, animated); Warrior Assassin (2011, China); The Little Rascals Save the Day; Lost Islands (2008, Israel); Birds of Paradise (animated); Knights of Badassdom; American Experience: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; The Story of Medicine: Pain, Pus & Poison (BBC documentary); War of the Worlds Goliath (2012, animated sci-fi); TCM Greatest Classic Films: Wartime Musicals (also TCM classic releases on Robert Mitchum, Henry Fonda and John Wayne's war films).

    TV series: Psych: Eighth Season; Broadchurch: First Season; The Dick Van Dyke Show: Classic Mary Tyler Moore Episodes (1961-66); George Gently, Series 6 (British detective series); The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts: Fully Roasted.


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 versions: the PG-13 theatrical release, which ran less than two hours; an unrated cut that is about four minutes longer; and a "super-sized" R-rated version that received a limited theatrical release and promises 763 jokes not included in the PG-13 version. That cut is two hours and 23 minutes.

Why 763 jokes? Were 750 too few and 800 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 switch among the various versions. It's not as if this was some kind of sacred movie text — such as, say, Star Wars, which caused purists to howl over George Lucas' 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 ($39.99) includes not only the three versions in HD but a DVD of the theatrical version and a digital download, There also are many extras, including audio commentary, bloopers, featurettes, and still more extended and alternate scenes. The DVD of the theatrical version is sold separately ($29.99) with no extras.

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