Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues begins with Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) and now wife Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) working for WBC news station in Manhattan, where they live with their son. After Ron is fired from WBC while Veronica gets promoted, he’s approached by a man working for a 24-hour news station called GNN, who offers him a job.
Accepting, Ron reassembles his old news team—lead reporter Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), sports reporter Champ Kind (David Koechner), and weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carell). At GNN, Ron faces obstacles in the forms of primetime anchor James Lime (James Marsden), producer Linda Jackson (Meagan Good), and, unfortunately, himself. In the end, it’s up to Ron to remember his duties as a journalist, a friend, a husband, and a father.
I shit you not when I say the writers and producers of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues sold us the same movie twice (much like those bastards with The Hangover, who managed to sell theirs three times). To be honest, I kind of expected that. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy ended up becoming a cult classic, so why would they try to fix a bankable formula? If you don’t understand this “formula,” let me break it down for you.
We’ve got Burgundy on top of the world, falling from grace, and then rising back to the top again (also called the “Will Ferrell“). He’s got a rival anchor on his ass. He ends up losing his news team. He embarrasses the woman he’s seeing by mentioning they’re having sex. He and his news team get in a fight with more news teams (I’ll discuss this in more detail later). He gets attacked by a wild animal only to be rescued by Baxter. See what I mean? Same movie! Even the jokes—like Brian opening one of his “ladies’ man” cabinets to reveal weird products—are similar. The only differences are the settings and the secondary characters.
Fortunately, because Adam McKay, Judd Apatow, and Will Ferrell are still ahead of the cusp when it comes to outlandish comedy, this movie is better than most of the comedies released this year (except The World’s End).
Now, storywise, I’m not going to even pretend like there’s a legitimate plot here. It’s predominantly filler sequences that only serve as a way of getting you from Joke A to Joke B. The first film didn’t really have a solid plot either, so I wasn’t expecting much, but at least it had an original concept to drive us forward. But since Anchorman 2 felt like one giant helping of déjà vu, spotting the plot holes was much easier.
Also, this sequel did the thing that you’re never supposed to do with secondary characters (in this case, Steve Carell’s Brick Tamland), and that’s giving them a bigger role than they need. Brick is always funny. In fact, he’s the fan favorite, much like the minions in the Despicable Me films. But rather than keeping his character to scenes where he adds to the main character’s comedy, Brick was given his own comedic scenes, which grew old after a while. The whole reason Brick was so funny in the first film was because he barely said anything; when he finally did speak, it was hysterical. This movie, however, was constant Brick. Even his moments with Kristen Wiig’s Chani were just okay, not gut-bursting, which was upsetting because I love Wiig.
But even the slight missteps in this movie were all remedied by one sequence in this entire movie. Yes, the inevitable news team battle. Unlike Anchorman‘s news team fight, which brought in Luke Wilson, Ben Stiller, Tim Robbins, and Vince Vaughn as competing anchors, the Anchorman 2 news team fight was one of those movie moments where you thought, “There’s no way this can get better,” and then it did (just to spite you).
It started with GNN’s James Lime, who’s upset with Burgundy ever since he lost a bet that required him to call himself “James Lame” on the air. Then came BBC, led by Sacha Baron Cohen. Then came MTV, led by Kanye West (Who knew he had a sense of humor). Then came Entertainment News, led by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Then came a Canadian news team, led by Jim Carrey and Marion Cotillard (who kept apologizing every time they insulted the other news teams). Then came a sports news team, led by Will Smith. Then came a history news team, led by Liam Neeson with the addition of a minotaur (What?!) and John C. Reilly as the soul-sucking ghost of Stonewall Jackson (WHAT?!). And finally, Kirsten Dunst appeared as a mythological angel-like woman to announce the fight (No touching of the hair or face, of course). And, naturally, there were throwbacks to the original with Brick’s trident and an appearance by Vince Vaughn’s Wes Mantooth.
One last quick thing worth noting. The 24-hour news station, GNN, is a total jab at CNN, and it’s awesome. When Burgundy and his GNN counterparts realize they can’t compete with the more professional news stations, they decide to start reporting on trivial things (with little to no fact-checking), like car chases, fashion, celebrities, etc, which gets them huge ratings. Did I mention they also have ridiculous tickers at the bottom of every story, as well as a shit-ton of graphics? (Dear CNN, even a comedy movie thinks you’re a joke.)
Overall, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues feels like a good follow-up to Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. But more so in the way that a second child follows your first child. You know, they’re great and all, but you’ve already done this once, and the first child was much more special and exciting (annnnnnd my mom is going to kill me for saying that). That being said, I do think it’s difficult to compare the two because of that reason. Where the first film was fresh, funny, and quotable because no one expected it, the success of the second film was already determined because it had to be funny and quotable to deserve attention—it just couldn’t be new, which is the pitfall of every sequel. Still, Anchorman 2 is one of the best comedies of this year. And to be honest, it has the best news team battle (Yep, it’s seriously better than the first). If anything, you have to see this movie just for that one fight sequence because it just keeps getting funnier as it goes.
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues: B
For my radio review of Anchorman 2 on “Pat & JT in the Morning,” visit this link (starts around the 21:37 mark).