"Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues"

I loved Will Ferrell's original film about Ron Burgundy, a pompous local TV news anchor strutting about in 1970s San Diego. It was a perfect vehicle for Ferrell's brand of absurd, self-deprecating humor. The first "Anchorman" was also endowed with a comedic all-star supporting cast, including Steve Carell as the borderline-brain-dead weatherman.

All of which makes this sequel so disappointing. The premise is stale -- they all move to New York City to pioneer 24 hour cable news -- the jokes are tired, and the cast looks like they want to be somewhere else. The handful of laughs is equally matched by awkward, humor-devoid scenes that confuse discomfort with comedy. Ferrell has many funny movies left in him. Sadly, this isn't one of them.

Intentionally bawdy, which makes it best for kids 12 years old and up. (R: Language, drugs and sexual themes). 1 hour and 59 minutes.

Ratings (out of 4 stars):

Overall: 2 stars

Kids: N/A

Teens: 3 stars

Adults: 2 stars

Seniors: 1½ stars

Should you watch it? No -- it's like watching Fox News but not as funny.

"Best Man Down"

Writer and director Ted Koland has fashioned a creative, moving indie drama about a newlywed couple forced to piece together the hidden life of their best man after he unexpectedly dies on their wedding night. The likable Justin Long stars as the groom trying to give his friend a proper funeral while uncovering that his lifelong pal had many secrets.


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Koland's script is poignant and never gilds the dramatic lily by creating artificially heart-wrenching moments. As a director he manages to coax genuine, high-quality performances from his actors.

But you would never know this from the way the marketing brain trust at Magnolia Pictures decided that a well-made, quiet film wouldn't sell and instead chose to package it as a wacky comedy. If you fall for this charade and are expecting lots of laughs, you will be disappointed.

Instead, see this for what it is: a lovingly made, serious film that doesn't take itself too seriously. Not right for kids, but clever teens will appreciate. (PG-13: Violence, language and sexual themes). 1 hour and 29 minutes.

Ratings (out of 4 stars):

Overall: 3 stars

Kids: N/A

Teens: 3 stars

Adults: 3 stars

Seniors: 2½ stars

Should you watch it? Yes -- this touching drama thoughtfully explores friendships.

"Walking With Dinosaurs"

The special effects in this dinosaur migration tale are stunning. It truly feels like you are watching gaggles of Gorgosaurus and Edmontosaurus stomping about prehistoric Earth. If only the rest of the film were as good.

The very busy Justin Long stars as the voice of Patchi, a runt of the Pachyrhinosaurus litter who must rise above his diminutive stature to lead the herd to safety.

As a children's movie, I'm not expecting Shakespeare. But I do have minimal standards as a parent and a frequent viewing companion with my 10-year-old daughter. This cheese-ball film fails them all, with a truly fetid script that is embarrassingly overacted.

Appropriate for kids ages 6 and older. (PG: Action and mild peril). 1 hours and 27 minutes.

Ratings (out of 4 stars):

Overall: 1½ stars

Kids: 2 stars

Teens: ½ star

Adults: 1½ stars

Seniors: 2 stars

Should you watch it? No -- watch a nature documentary with your kids instead.

J.B. Alderman lives in Piedmont and can be reached at jason@alderman.net.