Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013)
Dir: Adam McKay
It’s a bit like when you go for a second helping of your favourite meal, but quickly realise that it’s a bit cold now, you’re already full, and enjoyed the first helping far more.
Now in the 80’s, Ron (Will Ferrell) and Veronica (Christina Applegate) have been co-anchoring news in New York City, but when she is promoted and he is fired they separate, leaving Ron out of the news game. Eventually Ron is approached to take a slot on the first 24 hour news channel, and the news-team with Brick (Steve Carrell), Champ (David Koechner) and Brian (Paul Rudd) re-assemble to show new king of the anchormen Jack Lime (James Marsden, Robot & Frank) how it’s done!
I’m not ashamed to say, I absolutely love ‘Anchorman’. It’s one of the few films that’s great when I just want to watch something that I know I’ll enjoy, I can put it on and always chuckle despite being able to quote the entire film verbatim.
Fans of the first film were so excited to have Ron and the team return, but maybe the anticipation was too much and therefore this was always going to be somewhat disappointing. The sequel is a mixed-bag, at its best in the new fresh bits, but at worst when re-hashing old material from the first film that was funny in that but so well known now that when reused it doesn’t have the same effect. I think some of the laughs those bits get may be reminiscent, laughing not at the new film but rather remembering how it was originally done and laughing at that.
With the first film, there was so much extra material filmed but not used that there was a whole film, ‘Wake Up Ron Burgundy’, made from the cuts. If you watch it, though it’s funny in places, you can see they’re bits that aren’t up to the same level of the feature film they were cut from, there’s good reason why they didn’t make it in. There are bits here too that I feel might have been best left for the deleted scenes, specifically the bit about the shark, and half of the meal with his boss/girlfriend’s family. Sadly, I think I would have liked less of the stuff with Ron and Veronica’s son Walter too, not because it wasn’t good for the story, funnily enough I think it was needed, but because the young actor playing him (Judah Nelson) is really bad in this, he looks like he’s almost reading his lines and it completely ruins all the scenes with him in.
That being said, there are still some great bits to the film. Like the first, there’s a news-team fight with so many cameos, I won’t list them all because that would spoil much of its effect, but at least the other news teams are not the ones seen in the first film, there are some big and unexpected names turning up, and it just manages to be different enough to avoid it being a bad repeat of old material.
Without a doubt for me Brick still proves to be the best thing about Anchorman. His relationship with Chani Lastname (Kristen Wiig) is brilliant. Most of his little lines are scene-stealers, though sadly a lot of his best moments are in the trailer.
The film should also be commended for its underlying criticism of Fox News. The owner of the 24 hour news channel is a clear Rupert Murdoch-esque figure, he’s even Aussie to help force the point home. They make some good points underneath all the humour that news should be distinguishable from entertainment, and couldn’t have timed the release much more perfectly as Murdoch’s companies dealings were being called into question in the U.K.
Ultimately then I did enjoy this, I laughed plenty of times, but still kept feeling like I should just get the Blu-ray of ‘Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy’ off the shelf and enjoy that for the millionth time!