Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues photo starrating-4stars.jpgAnchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy was a modest hit back in the summer of 2004, but truly came into its own on home video. I confess. I wasn’t a fan. I found it unfocused with scattershot giggles. Now that I’ve alienated you, please stay with me. Faced with an over-hyped sequel to a comedy almost a decade old that I wasn’t crazy about in the first place, my expectations were pretty low. That’s what makes Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues such a delightful surprise. There’s a big difference between meandering nonsense, and pointed zaniness. I’m pleased to report, Anchorman 2 is the latter.

Ron Burgundy has difficulty accepting the fact that his wife Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) has been promoted to full time news anchor at the same moment that he has been fired. He gives his wife an ultimatum: him or her new promotion. They split up. Following an unsuccessful stint at Sea World, Ron is inexplicably offered a job at the Global News Network, the first 24-hour news channel. He is encouraged to assemble the old gang. Hilarity ensures. Once again this movie is set in the past. CNN began in 1980 so that appears to be the obvious year. That allows the soundtrack to be flooded with tons of late 70s/early 80s pop songs. It is the greatest assemblage of hits from that era since the glory days of K-Tel Records.

Anchorman 2 is the work of talented writers. There’s a real respect to the original while adding enough unique material to make this episode seem not only fresh, but necessary. We’re given little back-stories of what his news buddies have been doing in the interim. Would anyone care for some fried bat? Later the group is sitting in an RV on cruise control with no one at the wheel. There’s a random assortment of a deep fry oil cooker, a terrarium of scorpions, and a bag of bowling balls on the vehicle. Half the humor is the anticipation from the set-up. But the payoff is pretty side-splitting too. Most of the script maintains that lofty standard. The sole serious misstep occurs in the final 20 minutes where the narrative grinds to a halt for a rumble in the park of rival news teams. It occurs right when the saga feels like it’s wrapping up. It’s just a tiresome excuse to show a lot of famous cameos. I’m not going to list them, but Kanye West is involved. Yeah I know.

Anchorman 2 is a very funny film. The jokes rarely take a pause as the gags are constant throughout. The screenplay by Will Ferrell and frequent collaborator Adam McKay has a driving storyline to keep our attention amidst the absurdist humor. Actors James Marsden and Meagan Good play new characters that are welcome additions. The production also raises some insightful critiques about TV news that are quite clever. I wouldn’t call it a satire, but close. There’s plenty of silly shtick as well. Some of it falls flat, but the majority of it works. The first picture is frequently cited as one of the most quotable comedies of all time. While it would’ve been hard for any sequel to achieve that kind of legendary status, there is still plenty of amusing one-liners. Everyone is willing to fling themselves into an illogical premise and act like it’s just the most normal thing in the world. The effort makes it all worthwhile.

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22 Responses to “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues”

  1. Great to hear you had a good time with this Mark. As a big fan of the first I came in with serious concerns. . . not necessarily about whether or not it would be funnier (it’s not, IMO), but would it be worth the while? Would they be able to expand on the characters. They do. I actually did enjoy the big news team fight at the end again, but I would have to say that was the most egregious case of re-tread in this film.

  2. Good review Mark. It wasn’t as near-perfect as the first, but I still laughed and had a good time, which is more than I can say for half of the comedies that have come out this year.

  3. Nice review. Like you I wasn’t a fan of the first but I laughed a lot during this. There was no real driving force of the movie but it was a lot of fun.

    • I liked that it had more of a story than the first one. The first 24-hour news channel gave the narrative some direction. The part where it meandered for me was at the conclusion. Glad you enjoyed it.

  4. You have me dying to watch this. Particularly because I really didn’t enjoy the first movie either.

    My one question: is this sequel as mindlessly sexist as the first one? That was a major problem for me.

    • Well the short answer is no.

      As I recall, the men were all portrayed as buffoons in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy while Veronica Corningstone proved she was a smart, competent reporter and anchor. Therefore I saw it was a feminist satire on sexism in the workplace.

      This one sends up the state of TV news, particularly 24 hour news channels.

  5. I liked the first one and will probably like this one, as well. I will try to do a double feature when I see “The Wolf of Wall Street” whenever I can get to the theater. Have you seen “The Wolf of Wall Street” yet?

  6. I didn’t like this one quite as much as you (and I liked the first more than you), but I agree with much of what you’ve said. It is hilarious, and there are plenty of great one-liners.

    I also agree the news-team gag fight is lacking in awesomeness.

  7. Omg was this funny! I laughed out loud so much. So many awesome one-liners! I too, didn’t care for the first one, but this one, worth the price of its ticket. Only flaw was the endless amounts of cameos in the end. Did not like, or get that. 4 stars.

  8. Oh god I couldn’t stop laughing at this movie!!!

  9. I got to see Ron Burgundy/Will Ferrell when he was in town for a press conference at Emerson College and he was fantastic. The people who did the marketing and PR for this film are brilliant. You’d be surprised to learn then, that I still haven’t seen Anchorman 2. I’ve be hesitating on it, since I’ve read so many bad reviews. That said, I’m relieved to read your positive words and encouraged that I should probably see Anchorman 2 while it’s still in theaters.

    • It’s at 75% on RT. The reviews are way more positive than negative. Go ahead and see it!

      • I have to admit, I often forget about Rotten Tomatoes. I normally rely on the opinions of my fellow Boston critics, but I should remember more often that I don’t always fall in line with their views.

  10. GaryLee828 Says:

    What are you doing over there, EATING NACHOS!?

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