UK Release Date: 18th December 2013
Runtime: 119 minutes
Director: Adam McKay
Writer: Adam McKay, Will Ferrell
Starring: Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, David Koechner, Christina Applegate, Kristen Wiig, James Marsden
Synopsis: Ron Burgundy and his news team are recruited by an innovative 24 hour news network and must adapt to this different form of news.
Few comedy films, especially of the Apatow variety, can boast the level of cult success that Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy can. Its quotes have passed into the mainstream consciousness more than perhaps any other movie and it has a wide array of truly hilarious moments. As such, making a sequel to match its predecessor was a tough task for Will Ferrell and Adam McKay.
Thankfully, with Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, they very nearly succeeded.
Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) and wife Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) are torn apart when Ron is fired by the news organisation they work for. When Ron is then recruited by brand new 24 hour station GNN, he quickly reassembles roving reporter Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), sports correspondent Champ Kind (David Koechner) and weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carell) to support him as he grapples with smooth fellow anchor Jack Lime (James Marsden).
This sequel is kind of a big deal. And it seems that weighed heavily on the minds of writing duo McKay and Ferrell as they constructed Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. The first film was an accident, born from improvisation and arranged into a higgledy-piggledy masterpiece – a comedy Picasso. Lightning doesn’t strike twice, but Anchorman 2 certainly hits ground somewhere nearby.
Without the element of surprise from which the last film benefited, Anchorman 2 had to take a different tack. And so, instead of melding together sequences of improvisation, it rests a lightly satirical tale on a bedrock of Steve Carell non sequiturs and knowing winks to the 2004 original.
It’s still very funny. Brick might be Carell’s best ever character and here, he takes centre stage. Whether he’s eulogising at his own funeral or losing his legs in front of a green screen, he’s consistently funny on a level that few comic creations can ever reach. The only real drawback is that his new love interest, played by the amazing Kristen Wiig, gets very little to do.
Certainly he fares better than Champ, who here has all of the subtlety of his closeted love for Ron removed, and Brian, who only really exists this time to re-open his cupboard.
Anchorman 2 also suffers from a horrible middle act sag after Ron is seduced by his black boss, triggering a desperately unfunny bout of borderline racist material. When he sustains an injury that threatens his career, the result is a boring sequence that exists only to develop his relationship with Veronica enough to bring the story to its climax.
Whilst the satire of 24 hour news’ reliance on car chases and scandal is initially promising, it never really goes anywhere, giving way to Ron’s surreal character arc and a plot that builds to a fantastic final fight that escalates quickly. I mean, it really gets out of hand fast, instigating the best round of cameos seen in a long time.
Ultimately, Anchorman 2 is a worthy sequel to its legendary predecessor. 60% of the time it works… every time.
Pop or Poop?
With a mammoth task to complete, Anchorman 2 was always going to struggle to meet enormous expectations. It very nearly succeeds.
There is endless quotability, Steve Carell in the form of his life and a solid satire of 24 hour news and Rupert Murdoch.
In truth, it’s probably worth it all just to see the amazing reprise of the newsreader battle sequence. It’s a thing of absurd beauty.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.