Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues written by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, directed by Adam McKay (Paramount Pictures, Apatow Productions, Gary Sanchez Productions, PG-13, 119 minutes)
Starring Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd.
A Legend is Born
What makes a legend? A legend is somewhat of a folktale, historically grounded. In the comedic world, the folktale of Ron Burgundy found its way into our hearts and minds. Will Ferrell, even those that don’t care for his particular comedic bent, found a way to entertain most. Anchorman, the original, became a cult classic almost instantaneously. Now, the problem becomes this: a legend cannot be repeated.
Sequels are the death to any comedic franchise with few exceptions. What we found in the first Anchorman movie was new, fresh material, executed well, with good timing. When you do the same thing again, the surprise is gone.
In Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues we find Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) and his wife Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) both hosting the news for a popular New York station. Burgundy gets fired, Corningstone gets promoted. A new concept in news emerges, and Burgundy gets head hunted. He finds himself in the 2AM slot, and climbs his way to the top using his usual newscasting antics.
The Plot (?) — “Spoilers” To Follow
We then see less-than-intelligent weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carell) fall in love with secretary Chani (Kristen Wiig), and competing newscaster Jack Lime/Lame (James Marsden) fight for the top spot at the new around the clock newscasting channel. Burgundy proceeds to keep the spotlight by ruining the news, making it is what it is today: full of car chases, America praises, and animal cuteness. The substance is gone, something Jack Lime resents. Lime trips Burgundy while ice-skating, causing blindness to ensue. Now blind, Burgundy is brought back to health by Corningstone. A surgery brings him back, he fights with other teams of newscasters in a field (like in the last movie), and attends his son’s piano recital. His family is reunited and Burgundy learns that family is most important.
That’s a plot few can follow, if you even want to call it a plot. There were a few laughs, to be certain, but after an hour, the other fifty-nine minutes were shallow and far-fetched. Comedy is about timing, and after a while, the timing cannot continue. The plot was gone, the legend was not “reborn” so to speak.
So, here’s my lesson to all future filmmakers aspiring to create a comedy sequel: don’t do it. Leave the classic alone, let it stand alone in history, and have it be its own stand alone legend. You cannot have a legend if you attempt to bring it back and kill it. The lesson in Anchorman 2 is just that. If you’re a fan of the franchise, I recommend waiting until it comes to video.
Verdict: 2 out of 5