Comedy, 119 Minutes, 2013
This is, hands-down, the most ridiculously self-indulgent movie I’ve ever seen. It wanders from location to location for no other reason than to set up a new crop of gags. The characters are bizarre and totally unrealistic. The people who made this movie just threw everything at the wall to see what would stick.
It’s a good thing that they happen to be freaking geniuses.
The story is incidental, and not worth getting into as you’ll likely forget it immediately afterward, if not before. After a career implosion Ron gets a second-chance opportunity to host the late-night slot at the first 24 hour news network. He needs to gather the team he lost touch with, and figure out how to make a success out of something as crazy as 24-hour news.
All of the major characters from the original return. None of them have grown or changed at all; in fact they may have regressed. They’re two-dimensional caricatures sewn together from cliché and stereotype. What worked before works just as well, what didn’t work still doesn’t.
There are some – for lack of a better word – “thoughtful” jokes that, like the original, are based on 70’s racial or feminist stereotypes. There’s also an attempt to skewer the world of 24-hour news coverage. Most of this falls flat or, in the best cases, just lies there. Everything else is a special-brand of absurd that you’re going to hate yourself for laughing at.
You’ll hate yourself, but you’ll still laugh. Hard and loud and often. It’s just so insanely, hilariously stupid. The best gags rely on surprise, so you’ll probably never watch the movie again. Also, like most of the gonzo comedies of the past decade, there are pacing issues as the story intrudes on the stupidity across the third act.
The movie feels like late-night improv; like the stars got together and just kept riffing until they made each other laugh. Only in this case somebody wrote it down and spent a huge special-effects budget to make it a reality. It’s not a great movie, but it is a whole lot of mindless, dumbass fun.