Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Review

Almost 10 years after the original Anchorman, Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) and the San Diego news team are back!

What’s it about? 
Ron Burgundy returns to New York as an anchorman for the first 24-hour news channel, with his original San Diego team – Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), Brick Tamland (Steve Carell), and Champ Kind (David Koechner) – in tow.

Verdict: The success of Anchorman is a source of much wonder; the comedy is mostly stupid and simplistic with idiotic gags as it patronizes the audience into submission. Yet somehow (most likely due to the star-studded cast), it is considered one of the top-rated comedies of the last 10 years with a loyal, cult-like following.

Anchorman 2 follows in the same vein. We re-join the character of Ron Burgundy in the 1980s, he and his now-wife Veronica (Christina Applegate) are a successful news team partnership and they have a young son together. However, following Veronica’s promotion the couple split up and Ron is approached by GNN to anchor part of a revolutionary 24 hour news channel with the help of his old friends from San Diego.

movietalk-anchorman630-jpg_215157In comparison to the first film, the storyline is much stronger; it is fresh with much more depth and the narrative has many different layers –Ron’s relationship with his estranged wife, the desperate bid to get ratings on GNN, and competition with other news anchors alongside a romantic subplot for everybody’s favourite dunce, Brick, are all prominent themes throughout. However, some of the characters feel a bit stale. Brick and Ron were the two favourites from the original film and as a result it seems as though director Adam McKay couldn’t be bothered with Rudd and Koechner’s characters, meaning that much of the time they are awkward spare parts on the sidelines – much to the film’s detriment.

Brick and Ron are great sources of comedy but Brian Fantana was especially brilliant for comedic timing and together with Champ Kind they delivered a more understated level of humour which is sorely missed in the sequel. It is easy to see why producers may get carried away with the most successful characters from a franchise and run with them, but overexposing a funny character in the sequel is an easy way to turn viewers off and exhaust the character entirely.

When Anchorman 2 started the laughs from the audience were coming thick and fast but after 90 minutes of Brick being simple-minded and Ron being casually sexist and racist the laughs massively faltered and it was easy to see that the audience were getting restless without Brian and Champ being utilised to balance the humour out.

anchorman-2-legend-continues-crack-paul-rudd-636-370A refreshing lift to the stagnating characters comes from the star-studded list of cameo appearances. Alongside the endless stream of gags and chaos, casual prejudice and tasteless jokes familiar faces from Kanye West to Jim Carrey are cropping up – almost turning the film into a game of ‘spot the celebrity’. It seems as though everybody wanted a brief slice of the action, and with the original film’s unwavering popularity, who could blame them for wanting their face in the sequel?

All in all, the Anchorman humour definitely isn’t for everyone – there are universal moments of brilliance, such as the four men smoking crack live on air, but there are also painfully awkward moments that are gratuitous and fall flat, see Ron Burgundy’s meal with his black girlfriend’s family where he tries to ‘speak black’ and insults the entire African-American community. If you aren’t a fan of the original then avoid this one at all costs as there really isn’t much for you here. At the end of the day the Anchorman franchise will never be the making of a cinematic masterpiece,  but it knows its audience and panders to their tastes – no matter what the critics may think, fans will love it and that is all that really matters!

Final Words: As silly as the original, Anchorman 2 is by no means a work of genius. The characters become slightly overbearing towards the end, and despite a strong narrative the extra 30 minutes really do drag. Despite this, it is loyal to the original ensuring fans won’t be disappointed – so if you enjoyed the first Anchorman you should definitely check this out!

Rating: 2.5 / 5      

Anchorman 2 (15) is released in UK cinemas on 18 December 2013.