Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) returns in this sequel about an outrageously inappropriate, career-driven anchorman, nine years after the release of Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy. Admittedly, my memory of the first Anchorman is a little hazy, except for a few quotes here and there, and I didn’t bother re-watching the original in preparation for this movie. Let’s just say, I wasn’t a huge fan. While Anchorman certainly had its moments, overall, it was kind of a dud. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is more or less the same.
In this sequel, Ron Burgundy gets fired from his anchor job by his boss, played wonderfully by Harrison Ford – the first in a long line of celebrity cameos. At the same time, his wife Veronica (Christina Applegate), gets promoted to be an anchorwoman on the nightly news, which doesn’t sit well with Ron. After failing to convince Veronica to quit, a decommissioned Ron Burgundy goes to SeaWorld, leaving his wife and child behind, and is eventually hired to work on a new 24 hour news channel called GNN – a not-so subtle parody of CNN. He goes on to round up his old news team: cat photographer Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), fast food restauranteur Champ Kind (David Koechner), and the indelible Brick Tamland (Steve Carell).
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is absolutely absurd, but that’s exactly what it’s going for; each scene feels like it could be a sketch on Saturday Night Live, and the characters have that over-the-top SNL quality about them. And given that director Adam McKay and Will Ferrell both worked on SNL, it doesn’t come as a huge surprise. Steve Carell steals the movie as Brick Tamland, the socially awkward, mentally challenged, and downright weird-as-fuck weatherman. In this sequel, he gets a romantic subplot with Kristen Wiig’s Chani, an assistant at GNN and amalgamation of every single character Wiig has ever played on SNL.
Along with Ford and James Marden, who plays rival newsman Jack Lime, Anchorman 2 is saturated with celebrity cameos. Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Marion Cotillard, Will Smith, Liam Neeson, Kanye West, and more appear towards the end of the movie.
Just like the first Anchorman, you have to know exactly what you’re getting yourself into in order to enjoy this sequel. The narrative isn’t the most important thing, although the movie attempts to throw in some meaningful satire that ultimately fails. Instead, Ferrell and McKay are primarily concerned with telling jokes and putting these characters in totally random and wacky situations to elicit laughs. While it succeeds in some areas, there are some painfully unfunny, cringe-worthy moments; a dinner scene with Linda Jackson’s (Meagan Good) family comes to mind. Ron makes so many references to Linda’s race that it becomes disconcerting, rather than ironically funny – or whatever the writers were aiming for. In the first Anchorman, Ron had a problem with women. The sequel updates this so that Ron has a problem with black people, but it feels cheap, and the writers never take the time to make Linda a viable character.
At the end of the day, if you’re a fan of Anchorman and Will Ferrell and you don’t mind seeing the same sort of stuff, then Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is probably right up your alley. It’s at least 20 minutes too long, but it has its moments. Check out the trailer here.
Cast: Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner, Christina Applegate, Meagan Good
Director: Adam McKay
Runtime: 1hr 59min