Release date: 19th December 2013
Director: Adam McKay
Cast: Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, David Koechner, Christina Applegate, Kristen Wiig, James Marsden, Meagan Good, Greg Kinnear, Harrison Ford
Classification: M (Sexual References, Drug Use, Coarse Language and Comedic Violence)
Review by Peter Gray
One thing that can be said for the cast and crew of ‘Anchorman 2’ is that they are very smart at being very stupid. Will Ferrell and director Adam McKay indeed know how to steer their ship of absurdity and, for the most part, have gotten it quite right with the long awaited continuation of San Diego’s top broadcaster Ron Burgundy. Fans of the 2004 original will no doubt want to know if part 2 is just as funny and maintains the same random appeal that drove the first to become such a cult classic, and given the peculiar rants and illogical catchphrases thrown about, the surreal tangents that hijack the plot, and the hoard of seemingly endless celebrity cameos, it’s safe to say yes.
As with most sequels though there’s a certain lack of freshness, and sadly the more the film continues, the more it becomes apparent at how much it’s running on empty. Until this happens though ‘Anchorman 2’ is a suitably funny and lively film held together by the quartet of Ferrell, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell and David Koechner. As San Diego’s Channel 4 news team, the actors are clearly at ease returning to form as, respectively, chauvinistic anchor Ron Burgundy, the uniquely perverted Brian Fantana, socially inept weatherman Brick Tamland, and the utterly clueless Champ Kind. After a particularly humorous sequence where they are reunited, the team are brought to New York City to work for a news channel that plans on delivering information 24 hours a day. After wrapping their heads around the fact that their boss is a young black woman (Meagan Good), and learning that the charming yet volatile Jack Lime (James Marsden) is the network’s top anchor, the foursome conduct a plan to hopefully separate them from the rest in a bid to increase their position within the network.
It’s unsurprising that their idea of running sensationalist non-news (like car chases and cute animal videos) is a ratings winner, and it’s here that the film briefly gets to poke fun at the decreasing value of televised news; our own Josh Lawson is even on board with a seriously thick Australian accent portraying the head of the news channel. But as easy as it would’ve been to satirize that aspect, ‘Anchorman 2’, unsurprisingly, finds its niche in the absurd and the random, which is why we have a gag on a fried chicken outlet serving fried bats to customers, a young shark being serenaded by Ron as it swims out to sea, and a mid-afternoon park battle eerily reminiscent of the news team massacre from the first film where a great deal of the aforementioned cameos come to fruition. To say it’s overstuffed is an understatement, and like any movie going for a joke-a-minute consistency there’s going to be some that work and some that don’t, and this film goes through bouts of both. The first half of the film is undoubtedly the strongest but once the film introduces Ron to a serious injury, things take a turn for the worst and a sense of agitated overload sets in, almost as if McKay and Ferrell were given too much freedom and no one opted to suggest leaving some of it for the inevitable extended DVD edition.
It’s a shame that it’s the last moments of ‘Anchorman 2’ that are the most questionable as the film does offer up its share of genuine big laugh moments, and the cast is particularly likeable which is ultimately what saves the film. The returning cast, which also includes Christina Applegate as Ron’s ambitious news anchor wife Veronica Corningstone, is as reliable as ever with Marsden and Good easily slipping into the odd nature of their surroundings. Kristen Wiig, who is too perfect a fit for this type of film, is sadly underused as a love interest for Brick, but she makes the most of her limited screentime with her nervous energy and mopey facial expressions proving just why she’s one of the funniest and bravest comedienne’s currently working.
Much like its lead character, ‘Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues’ says some dumb and somewhat offensive things (and overstays its welcome) but it’s got heart and the purest of intentions, and wants nothing more than to please.
My rating 3/5 (Wacky but well-intentioned)

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