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On Review: 'Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues'

January 3, 2014

Editor's Note: This monthly installment of movie reviews by Spirit and Jefferson County Neighbors' reporters Matt Triponey and Dan Long rates Anchorman: 2: The Legend Continues.

Plot Recap: After getting fired, anchorman Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) reunites his old team — Champ Kind (David Koechner), Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) and Brick Tamland (Steve Carell) — and helps found GNN, the first-ever all-news network.

* * *
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues serves an outlandish sequel to the 2004 smash hit Anchorman. Is it better than the original? No. But it is funny and manages to capture most of the appeal of its predecessor, which is a tough task to accomplish with a comedy sequel.

Anchorman 2 is a barrage of jokes from the opening scene when you see Ron Burgundy and Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) walking through downtown New York. Like most aspects of the film, there are positive and negatives with that. When you’re hit with a constant flow of jokes, it’s hard to develop timing with the material.

It’s difficult to catch the audience off guard with a bit if there is a steady flow of jokes coming at the audience, but thus is Anchorman’s style.

The Legend Continues is much, much more outlandish than its predecessor. Like everything with the film, there is good and bad with that.

Scenes like the ridiculous RV crash and Ferrell singing a song about his shark named Doby were comedic gold. Some of the crazier scenes did not work, and I will not reveal which ones to avoid spoiling the plot.

Ferrell is still solid as Burgundy and is just as buffoonish as you’d expect. Burgundy’s comedic antics and wacky comments can still carry a scene the second time around.

Burgundy’s news team all make a welcome return. Champ Kind, Brian Fantana and Brick Tamland all reprise their roles. The film gets a much heavier dose of Brick this time around, which makes sense, as Carell is a much more established comedic actor than he was when the original released.

Brick does provide several funny moments, but it felt like the film went to the well too many times with his bits, leaving his scenes feeling a little stale by the end of the movie.

Brick's relationship with Chani (Kristen Wiig) provided some of Anchorman 2's more hilarious gags as they awkwardly bumbled through the dating process but it, too, was a little overdone.

In the seven years since the original film was set, Burgundy and Corningstone birthed a son named Walter (Judah Nelson).

Anchorman 2 is at its worst during the scenes with Ron and Walter. The few scenes in the underdeveloped plot line failed to deliver any big laughs, and there wasn't any chemistry established between the pair.

The Legend Continues references several jokes from its predecessor, and even though they don’t deliver the biggest laughs of the film, it was a nice throwback for the fans. The cameos were also a welcome addition and really upped the ante from what you saw in the original.

In addition to all the outlandish and wacky comedy, The Legend Continues takes time to poke fun at the ludicrous state of the television journalism industry.

Though it does provide some funny moments, a bit more subtlety in the delivery of the material would have been more effective, as the movie is a tad in your face about the concept.

The film runs at 119 minutes and is jammed back with content, which made it a bit lengthy for a comedy movie. Some of the side stories fit in nicely with the overarching narrative, whereas other plot lines felt forced and out of place.

All in all, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is a funny movie that was a bit too ambitious. Though the film is not as good as the its predecessor, it was still solid, and I recommend it if you’re a fan of Ferrell or the original.

Rating out of 5: 3.5 Ron Burgundy moustaches

— Dan Long

* * *
It’s kind of the same thing as the first one, not done quite as well. But you could do a lot worse for comedies these days.

To be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. One or two moments aside, I’d say I actually hated it on the first viewing.

Years later, after continued recommendations from critics I trust, I gave it another shot and at least achieved some sort of distant admiration for it.

Steve Carell’s character was the only part of it I found particularly funny. I had some respect for how the satire is executed in places, even if it wasn’t enough to sustain a feature-length film. But, you know — it was basically amusing.

That’s more or less where I stand with the sequel — it’s basically amusing. I enjoyed watching it. I’ll probably never deliberately see it again, but it was fun while it lasted.

Like I said, it’s the same basic deal as the first movie. It’s probably not as good, but then, I don’t think the first one was great either. It’s a question of degrees.

I don’t know that Anchorman 2 has any singular moment that matches the best laughs in the admittedly quotable original.

Even having seen it only a few weeks ago, there are only one or two jokes that remain fresh in my memory.

Nevertheless, I would say that the comedy in the sequel is a touch more consistent, if only in that Carell was not the only member of the cast who got laughs out of me this time. David Koechner gets some great moments early on, and Paul Rudd plays the

self-satisfaction of his character up to the nth degree. I ordinarily dislike Will Ferrell in just about everything, but here, he’s exactly the right amount of unhinged.

Sure, every now and then, a joke will fall flat, or the actors will start riffing a bit longer than advisable.

Occasionally, director Adam McKay will allow that riffing to screw up his editing, which leaves the movie feeling jumpy. But there are enough laughs here, and the movie doesn’t go long without at least getting a small one.

Really, the biggest problem with Anchorman 2 is that there’s some
small extent to which it has to work as a story, and it really doesn’t.

Neither did the first one, particularly, but at least its comedy was a bit more focused.

Yeah, you had your moments of random lunacy, including, of course, the infamous battle of the news teams (which gets a riotous upgrade in the sequel).

But a lot of the comedy was fixed into a central narrative of Ron Burgundy having to learn to get along with his new female co-anchor.

In Anchorman 2, on the other hand, Ron learns, like, five different lessons.

There’s a subplot about him still being sexist; there’s a subplot about him being kind of racist; there’s a subplot about him being a bad father; there’s a subplot about him being a bad husband; there’s a subplot about him accidentally starting the cultural phenomenon of sensationalistic, speculative news reporting; and so on.

It’s all over the place, which is fine if you’re Monty Python and
the Holy Grail but not if your movie is at least pretending to be story-driven.

A lot of these subjects are very ripe for satire, but the movie never gets the chance to really sink its teeth into any of them. There’s just too much going on.

But missed opportunities aside, what you want to know is whether or not you’re going to laugh. My answer to that: eh, probably. Take that as
you will.

Rating out of 5: 3

— Matt Triponey

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