Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues: Not As Legendary As the Original

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Believe it or not, it’s been almost a decade since Anchorman hit theaters. This sequel has been gestating since then, which makes it a bit of a disappointment. But still, you will laugh a lot.

What was so great about the original was how it blended its absurd brand of humor with a feministic story. Say what you will about how hilarious Will Ferrell is as Ron Burgundy (he’s hardly lost his luster in the sequel as well), but Christina Applegate’s Veronica Corningstone gave us an idea to root for among all the newsteam duels and dog punting.

Anchorman 2 tries to do that, inserting black news producer Linda Jackson (Meagan Good) into the madness. But in the end, this isn’t the story of how she rose from ashes of the Civil Rights Movement, as its predecessor was about Veronica being the first woman lead anchor in San Diego.

Ron finds himself with a new opportunity in this entry, the start of the 24-hour news cycle. He gathers his newsteam (Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, and David Koechner all slipping perfectly back into their roles) and head to New York City for this new adventure.

But Ron finds himself challenged by a new anchor, Jack Lime (James Marsden), and a terrible timeslot, 2am to 5am. He makes it work, however, and this is where Anchorman 2 is fairly clever. Ron finds ways to sensationalize the news, making stories out of endless car chases and cute animals. It gets him ratings and puts him on top again, but the film asks the question what really is news anyway?

While the end result may be a bit conflicting, it’s very funny how Ron becomes the reason for the sex and violence we see all over the news today. Not quite as rewarding as Veronica’s journey to the top, however.

But most people won’t go to see this film for its big ideas.

The whole movie brings in cameos from just about every celebrity you could imagine in Ferrell’s contact list. And the gags are as good as always (at one point Ron sings a “poignant” lullaby to a pet shark as we see clips of it tearing apart seals).

Still, what made the original Anchorman so interesting was the rich blend of absurdity and progressiveness. This sequel has some interesting ideas, but is too focused on giving Brick something stupid to say than letting them play out coherently. Oh well, the climax is insane enough to make the whole thing worth it. Grade: B

By Matt Dougherty

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