Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013)
“It’s Kind of a Big Deal.”
Director: Adam McKay
Cast: Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd
Synopsis: With the 70s behind him, San Diego’s top rated newsman, Ron Burgundy, returns to take New York’s first 24-hour news channel by storm.
Will Ferrell, the star of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, is a comic actor who has consistently appeared on Forbes Magazine’s Most Overpaid Actor list, an annual record of those stars who provide the lowest box office return for every dollar that they’re paid. A one-off appearance on this list can arguably be put down to bad luck, but regular appearances — I seem to remember that Ferrell topped the list for two years running — suggests that perhaps the actor in question simply isn’t good value for money. The success of Anchorman 2 at the box office at least ensured Ferrell’s absence from 2013’s list, but the subdued audience response to what it offered suggests the movie’s financial success is down to the goodwill arising from memories of Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004) which drew audiences to the sequel rather than any particular merit appertaining to the sequel. Personally, I didn’t think Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues was any worse than the first movie, but then I wasn’t a big fan of The Legend of Ron Burgundy anyway.
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues sees Burgundy’s wife, Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) winning a promotion at Burgundy’s expense: she’ll anchor the news on her own while Burgundy is free to look elsewhere for work. This setback spells the end of the couple’s marriage, and six months later an estranged Burgundy is compering at Sea World and nursing a drink problem. Salvation comes in the offer of a job anchoring for GNN, a new news station planning to offer round-the-clock news, and Burgundy reunites his old crew, whose fortunes have been mixed following the end of their glory days working in San Diego. Champ Kind (David Koechner) is passing off fried bat as chicken in his failing fast food outlet, Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd — This is the End) is earning a comfortable living ‘photographing pussies’, and weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carrell — Despicable Me, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone) is missing, believed dead but shows up at his own funeral to deliver a bizarre eulogy. Together, the crew travel to New York, where a stint on GNN’s 2AM graveyard shift awaits.
It’s not long, however, before Burgundy’s strategy of spicing up the news wins him a prime spot, much to the irritation of the station’s previous top dog Jack Lime (James Marsden — Robot & Frank, 2 Guns) who, having lost a ratings battle bet to Burgundy, must change his name to Jack Lame.
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues runs out of a plot sometime around the half-way mark, and it quickly becomes apparent that writers Ferrell and Adam McKay simply decided that surreal humour would serve as an acceptable substitute for plot. They might have been right had that surreal humour realised the potential offered by the situations they created, but too often the opportunities offered by promising scenarios — Burgundy’s dinner with the family of his Afro-American boss/girlfriend (Meagan Good), for example — are fumbled to the point where we’re left wondering just how a situation loaded with such comic potential can be so bereft of laughs. That’s not to say Anchorman 2 isn’t without laughs, it’s just that they’re distantly spaced throughout an overlong running time which sees the plot take a frankly bizarre left turn involving Burgundy’s temporary refuge in a lighthouse following a bout of blindness. Now, bizarre might be in keeping with the Burgundy style if it has a point, but developments like this simply hint at a lack of real purpose from the scriptwriters.
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues will be a real disappointment to those who believed the first Ron Burgundy movie was a work of genius but if, like me, you believed Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy was over-rated then this movie will just feel like more of the same…
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