“Finally! Yes!” “Really? Again?” Those were the quick, general reactions this week as new developments signaled serious movement on Anchorman 2, Dumb & Dumber 2, and a left-field sequel to 1988′s Twins involving Eddie Murphy. Social networks have been abuzz with this ambivalence, and with good reason. “They’re back! But will they be the same? Can they?”
Part of me wanted to leap into the air — then magically freeze frame — when Will Ferrell strolled onto Conan O’Brien to play the jazz flute and announce a sequel to his quotable 2004 hit, Anchorman. A wave of elation hit when ComingSoon broke the news this weekend that not only is Dumb & Dumber 2 happening, but the Farrelly brothers say Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels are returning to shoot the sequel in September. (2003′s Dumb & Dumberer was a prequel the Farrellys had nothing to do with.) Then, the surge of indifference when THR reported Arnold Schwarzenegger, 64, and Danny DeVito, 67, may reunite in Triplets, a studio-manufactured sequel that would introduce Murphy as their other experimental brother.
Then these second winds started to stink a little. Ferrell and director Adam McKay are putting the band back together (Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, David Koechner), but Paramount has begun to market and exploit it before there’s even a script. (The studio has passed on the project due to budget concerns.) Carrey, 50, may be making a comeback, including magician comedy Burt Wonderstone with Carell and Bruce Almighty 2, but he hasn’t been funny in years (except his awkward love confession to Emma Stone). The Farrellys’ recent flicks don’t inspire much confidence either (Hall Pass, The Heartbreak Kid). Murphy lost it even further back, before Schwarzenegger became irrelevant in entertainment and DeVito retired to “It’s Always Sunny.” Triplets? It’s The Expendables concept sadly applied to a new genre, like Old Dogs.
Do they still have it? Is this really a good thing? I can’t help but notice the timing. No, not April Fool’s (which has lost its way when fake somehow equals funny). I mean this weekend’s American Reunion, the third sequel to 1999′s American Pie, as a glaring, unseemly example of scraping the bottom of the comedy well and Hollywood’s reduce, reuse, recycle mentality, which usually disappoints. For example, next week, the Farrellys revive The Three Stooges.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited about the potential for these “newest” sequels. (Some more than others, Schwarzenegger.) But the latest developments on Anchorman 2, Dumb & Dumber 2 and, ahem, Triplets come coupled with similar announcements, like Ben Stiller’s developing Zoolander sequel, or the low rumblings that Mike Myers will resurrect Austin Powers for another groovy adventure. Plus Wedding Crashers 2, Bill & Ted 3, and a Police Academy reboot in the works. Kevin Smith just announced plans for Clerks 3 on Broadway (EW). What?
Crowds are still showing up for nostalgia fare, throwbacks, reboots, and prequels, why not revisit the most iconic comedy characters too? Ron Burgundy, Harry and Lloyd, Zoolander, the Men in Black, the usual Adam Sandler, demonstrative “comedy” Ah-nold, American Pie, The Muppets, and Austin Powers. Yeah, that just about covers the last twenty years at least, save other Carrey and Murphy caricatures. (R.I.P. Chris Farley, Leslie Nielsen.)
If Pauly Shore mounts a comeback, I quit.