And so the legend of Ron Burgundy continues...
This time, Will Ferrell's dim-witted anchorman and his beloved crew take on 24 hour news after our favourite news man is fired by Harrison Ford's moody boss, thereby leaving his station, his wife and his son before, once again, hitting rock bottom. Luckily, he is found by a dude interested in hiring him for a new concept TV channel, GNN, which would offer the news 24/7. He accepts and sets out to put his news crew back together starting with Champ (David Koechner), who is running a fast food place where he passes off bat meat as chicken, then moving on to Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), who takes pictures of cats for a living, and finally Brick (Steve Carell), who is believed to be dead by many including himself. As soon as the team is back together, the film finally gets genuinely fun. A lot of the jokes play out much like you thought they would in the trailer but that's ok since this sequel has a LOT of jokes. It's a longer film but it doesn't waste a second, instead throwing tons and tons of goofiness at you from start to finish, no matter whether everything sticks or not. One second Ron Burgundy is ice-skating, the next he's blind, the next he's bottle-feeding a shark, the next he's singing... it's pretty much non stop. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. On the one hand, a lot of the jokes work and, like the first film, when they do work they're frankly hilarious. The obligatory ludicrous cameo-filled end battle scene is a riot (though I could have done without Kanye West, frankly), the whole Brick romance subplot is genius (Kristen Wiig makes a perfect love interest) and the whole CNN/Fox News satire is just a great idea altogether. On the other hand, this all means that Anchorman 2 is also very hit-and-miss, much more so even than its predecessor.
A plot thread involving Ron Burgundy getting together with Meagan Good's character only serves to side-track the film into a bunch of awkward race jokes. Those admittedly do mostly work, but only seem to be there to fill that running time because otherwise it's a subplot that pretty much goes nowhere. Also, whereas the first film flew by, thanks to its continuous flow and it being super low on plot, this sequel drags. Scenes that should have just been there for a quick laugh or two seem to go on for ages and jokes often feel overplayed by like a minute or so. Perhaps cutting the whole side romance altogether and reducing the overall running time by 20 minutes would have helped move things along a bit better. Director Adam McKay clearly had tons of material for this movie, most of it great, but the film ends up suffering from too much heavy plotting and too much deja vu, with Ron Burgundy living through a rise-and-fall scenario not once but twice in the same flick. And what's with the character development? Burgundy developing a conscience and acting somewhat mature?! Sure didn't see that coming... It's also weird that Burgundy has a son in this movie, a son whose acting is a joke in itself and whose entire existence basically rests upon one moment right at the end of the movie. The kid just didn't feel necessary. All that said, I'd be lying if I said I didn't have fun with Anchorman 2. Everyone, once again, seems to be having a ball and there are enough moments of sheer madness and sheer comic genius to make it worthwhile. Ok, so it turns out that a sequel to Anchorman wasn't at all necessary but hey, if it's that or whatever Adam Sandler's been doing for the past 5 years, I'll take it! Will Ferrell fans should love every minute of it while Anchorman fans should feel rather spoilt by the overabundance of lols shamelessly offered by this movie. Newcomers James Marsden, Greg Kinnear, Dylan Baker and all the news people showing up randomly during THAT epic battle scene (not you, Kanye) all do a fab job and help make this sequel as enjoyably silly as it is.
While lacking the freshness and pace of its predecessor, Anchorman 2 should please anyone who was looking forward to more Ron Burgundy madness. The film itself could have definitely used a trim but, as it stands, it's still a hugely enjoyable comedy with tons of memorably nutty scenes and some clever satirical stabs at what the news has become over the years. It looks like a third film probably won't happen seeing as this one feels pretty complete so enjoy it while it lasts.
Bloated but worthy.