Though it’s great to have the channel 4 news team back together again, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is likely to lightly disappoint those who’ve been salivating for more adventures with Will Ferrell‘s Ron Burgundy and the gang. Yes, there’s plenty of funny, and it’s easily one of the best comedy sequels ever. But when you’re ranking those, it points out that most comedy sequels don’t work. This is mostly good, but if you love the first one, this mostly feels like variations on a familiar joke.
- Director: Adam McKay
- Writers: Adam McKay, Will Ferrell
- Starring: Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, David Koechner, Paul Rudd, Christina Applegate, Meagan Good, Kristen Wiig, James Marsden
- Music by: Andrew Feltenstein, John Nau
- Cinematography by: Oliver Wood
Ron Burgundy (Ferrell) has been reading news with his wife Veronica Corningstone (Applegate), but when there’s an opening in the evening news, Veronica gets the job and Ron gets his walking papers. Forcing her to choose between their marriage and her promotion, the two break up and Ron hits rock bottom but then he’s offered a job doing cable news. To do so he reassembles the channel four news team: sports reporter Champ Kind (Koechner), investigative journalist Brian Fantana (Rudd) and weatherman/idiot Brick Tamland (Carell). And when in desperate need of ratings, Burgundy and crew decide to not tell people the news they need to hear, but tell them what they want to hear.
- Laughs a Plenty: The amount of talent on screen is ridiculous, and everyone gets a moment or two to shine. Brick meets his female equivalent in Kristen Wiig’s Chani, and the two are great together, while McKay and Ferrell take Ron Burgundy down some great roads of stupid. Paul Rudd proves an ace scene stealer, and James Marsden has a couple of great moments. There are big laughs to be had.
- A Point: Though it never hits you over the head with it, the twenty four hour TV news cycle has made a bad impact on journalism, and McKay and Ferrell take some good shots at the system which promotes nonsense over actual reporting.
The Not So Good:
- Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before: When I saw Anchorman for the first time, I had no idea who Brick Tamland was and when Steve Carell was introduced putting mayonnaise into a toaster, I knew his character would be something special. Carell earns some of the biggest laughs in the first film. But now that we know Brick we know what to expect from him, and so every time he does something Brick-ish, it’s not that surprising because we expect him to behave that way. The character is established, so the boundaries have been set. Not only that, but there’s sequences that are obvious variations on things in the first film, including the infamous Anchor fight. I won’t spoil how it goes down, but the reason why those scenes worked so well in the first movie is you didn’t see them coming. The problem here is that you see a number of the jokes coming, and it’s hard to get excited for that. Which is why the lighthouse sequence towards the end of the film is the most inspired.
- Long: At nearly two hours, the film feels a little bloated. It’s still funny, but you can feel the length.
- Set Up: The film has to knock Ron down and then assemble the news team back together and that may be where the film suffers the most in terms of length. Though their re-introductions are all pretty funny, it’s more fun not to have to explain it.
Look, this review sounds more negative than positive, and I liked the film a bunch, but it’s also my least favorite Adam McKay film. This film has been rumored for years and years, and it’s good to see the gang back together, but they would have been better served if they followed the Marx brothers pattern and had similar behavior but different characters. To have Ron learn to be human again is a little too familiar for this to be a great film, and though there’s a lot to like and laugh at, it’s hard not to be a little disappointed.
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is in theaters now.