Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Review
Posted by Terry Lewis on 12.19.2013
Will Ferrell returns to the role of Ron Burgundy in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues! But does it hold up to the original or fall flat? 411's Terry Lewis checks in with his full review!
Will Ferrell - Ron Burgundy Steve Carell - Brick Tamland Paul Rudd - Brian Fantana David Koechner - Champ Kind Christina Applegate - Veronica Corningstone Meagan Good - Linda Jackson Fred Willard - Ed Harken Kristen Wiig - Chani James Marsden - Jack Lime
Call off the dogs my wise cracking, former college dorm haunting friends. Your near ten year wait for a sequel to the sublime Anchorman featuring Will Ferrell's (Casa de Mi Padre) Ron Burgundy character is finally over in the season of goodwill with a sequel to the fantabulous California-based newsreader's antics. Not much has been lifted off the privacy before the debut of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues at the theatres, but simply, if you're a fan of Burgundy, you're going to see it. What about everyone else you may ask? Well, subjectively, you'll find it's easily better than anything on screen comedy-wise in 2013.
So, Ron Burgundy has settled down and had a son with Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate, Hall Pass) but when Veronica gets promoted to top anchor of evening news and Ron is fired (for being, well, unboardcastable in a magnificent sense), Ron gets picked up by a 24/7 news channel. Finding out he and his reassembled News Team are dumped to the graveyard shift, Ron decides to make the news what interests the average American – by ramming it with as much animal stories, patriot flag waving and car chases he can find. After obscuring his friends from his celebrity, Ron has to find out if he can save himself, his career, friends and family before it's too late.
You'd be very much forgiven in the lack of build and promotional material that this sequel has had (duely remedied by the appropriate trailer above), but Ron Burgundy and the rest of the Channel 9 News Team are treated with due proper care. To be honest, I would like you to forgive the bias because if you know anything about the original, then the cast and content of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues more than delivers. Be it, Brick Steve Carell (The Office USA ) getting a love story after his incredible rise to fame after the first movie (it could be argued Carell is better than Ferrell outputly on paper) or Ron getting to run rough-shot and steal the best lines in America's version of journalistic interviewer misogynistic and insecure Brit Alan Partridge, there is something you can attach yourself to performance, thematically or comedy wise.
The comedic vibe is simply too good to regurgitate in review as you simply appreciate the piss-taking/tribute to American news networks and Ron and co.'s antics or not. I don't really want to spoil it for people yet to see it but when you have a film where Harrison Ford questions the decision to kill those four people he did – last week –, Bats used as Kentucky Fried Chicken and Burgundy raising a shark for the purpose of releasing it back into the wild, then you are either with it and know what you're getting yourself into or not. Whilst I'd say the first Anchorman has way more memorable lines, the second round in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues has far more memorable scenes with completely random but etched brilliance in the brain, in my mind comedy-wise. Where the hell else could you find Paul Rudd's (This Is 40) Brian Fantana getting away with going on a night out with O.J. Simpson and few other friends on a night out, scouting for girls and labelling themselves The Ladykillers?
It maybe a bit heavy handed, but I really enjoyed the references to the rolling 24 hour news coverage. In fact, I feel they don't pull the trigger enough with Burgunday tackling completely random, “unnecessary” car chases, animal stories and patriotism. As an outsider looking in, if you enjoy Fox News for example's coverage of essential stories, that's fine, but Anchorman 2 is quite rightly the place to run amok with it. Why else would you find a 70's version of the O.J. Simpson car chase in a complete non-story, over the Middle East saving interview with Yassar Arafat, and find it a knowing complete waste of time?
Granted, I would have preferred more than “it's bad” in the news covered but it more than makes up for itself with the 70's racism covered. If the the original Anchorman covered sexism rather brilliantly with Veronica Corningstone, then Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues blow the brains out of racism. The exchanges between Burgundy and his boss/new squeeze Linda Jackson (Meagan Good, TV's Deception) typify Burgundy's stereotypical, non worldly views and the dinner scene is very trying in his ignorance and audiences' light heated realisation and want to slap him around for being so ignorant, even in the timeframe.
Whatever you think regardless, Burgundy's quote of “There's too much news!! mirrors the finale's echo of the first movie's stand off between the local news types but on a more national scale and therein contains the most brilliant of cameos on film seen ever. Granted if you spoiled it for yourself then shame on you, because the escalation of actors/actresses is the purest of hilarity I've seen in awhile (and star strucking too) whilst having a poignant view of news coverage today, not only in the USA but around the world. Although maybe the 70's and 80's references may fly over too many people's heads. I honestly struggled with some. To be fair, they come attached with a funny kicker on all the lines, but I wish it was a just a tiny bit more accessible, having not grown up in 1970's America.
If anything the bigger budget for a sequel is shown off with the amount of stunts (check out the beyond ridiculous story of how the cruise control Winnebago-esque camper van crashes) and special effects and yet no way influences the overall story arc and comedic performances. Everyone is on their ball game here and knows that their job is to give the best comedy expression they can on their characters. For me, whilst I enjoyed another serving of Ron and the other news team members, the interactions bettween Brick and Chani are worth their weight in gold alone. I can see how people can critique how Anchorman 2 reflects the original's plot but sod it – we've waited nearly 10 years for Ron Burgundy round two and the themes covered in the eyes of a neutral are fantastic and the comedy still seems fresh, albeit a bit dated in places.
The 411: I'm sorry to cast a British eye on this but Ron Burgundy is the best character created on the other side of the pond to parody American culture. These is no equal. A genuinely funny satire, albeit a few personals crosses against, on the state of rolling news coverage and racism in 70's America, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues deserves all the gold stars and plaudits it can muster, even if the message is a bit abscured. If you're a fan of Ron and friends, you will be happy. If not, you will at least find something positive to talk about in the comedic piss taking here. The only drawback? Too late to vote in my list of the year – as Number One.