Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy
Paul Rudd as Brian Fantana
Steve Carell as Brick Tamland
David Koechner as Champ Kind
Christina Applegate as Veronica Corningstone
James Marsden as Jack Lime
Meagan Good as Linda Jackson
Kristen Wiig as Chani
Harrison Ford as Mack Harken
Greg Kinnear as Gary
Bill Kurtis as Bill Lawson – Narrator (voice)
Judah Nelson as Walter Burgundy
Directed by Adam McKay
“Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” has some fun cameos and great satire of the state of today’s news, but overall the script feels incomplete and it goes completely off the rails by the end. This one is more of a renter.
In the early 1980s, Ron Burgundy and Veronica Corningstone are now network co-anchors in New York. They have a young son and are incredibly happy, but when evening news anchor Mack Harken decides to retire, he offers his job to Veronica and fires Ron. Insanely jealous, Ron leaves his wife and son and returns to San Diego where he hits rock bottom.
Six months later, Ron is approached with an offer he can’t refuse. A newfangled 24-hour cable channel is starting up and they want Ron and his team to lead the 2 a.m. newscast. Ron gets the band back together including Champ Kind, Brian Fantana, and Brick Tamland. But when Ron returns to New York, he finds new competition at both the workplace and at home. Hot, young news anchor Jack Lime is top dog at the fledgling network and intends to stay that way. And Veronica Corningstone has found a new love in her life psychologist (and possible mind reader) Gary. It will take all of Ron’s talents to win back his family and revolutionize news as we know it in the process.
“Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” is rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, drug use, language and comic violence.
I was a fan of the first “Anchorman” movie, and any time I see it on TV, it’s one of those films that I’ll stop channel surfing and watch through to the end. Like many of Will Ferrell’s movies, it is quotable, insane, and a lot of fun. So I was pretty eager to see “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.” Unfortunately, it’s not nearly as entertaining as the first film, but it is still has some fun moments.
Will Ferrell jumps back into the role of Ron Burgundy as if he never left. Ron is still selfish, egotistical, and says the worst possible thing at the worst possible moment. This generates some good laughs as he’s drunk at SeaWorld, facing sexual harassment from his new boss, and meeting his black girlfriend’s family for the first time. Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner and Christina Applegate all return in fine form, but the movie still belongs to Will Ferrell.
As for the new cast, James Marsden more than holds his own with Ferrell as Jack Lime. I don’t know why I was surprised Marsden handled the comedy so well since he did it before in “Enchanted,” but to see him with Ferrell emphasizes his comedic ability. Harrison Ford is also fun in a brief cameo as Mack Harken. It’s easy to forget that Ford has plenty of comedy in his action films, so it’s fun to see him dive headfirst into it here. He has a great awkward moment with Ferrell and Applegate early in the story (but a less impressive return cameo near the end). Towards the end of the film there is yet another news anchor brawl that has an insane number of guest appearances, but I won’t spoil them here. But their mere appearance on the screen is enough to generate a lot of laughs and it infuses a bit of life in an otherwise lackluster ending.
Despite all of the cameos and improvisation by Ferrell, “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” takes some fun jabs at today’s news reporting in general. In a desperate attempt to grab ratings, Ron and his team resort to sensationalism, titillation and reporting stuff that isn’t really news in an effort beat the competition. Throw patriotism into the mix and it becomes apparent that Fox News is their main target though today’s news in general gets equal criticism. The point is driven home when Veronica Corningstone has an interview with Yasser Arafat on the Mid-East peace talks pre-empted to show a car chase in Wisconsin. Overall it’s more pointed humor than I was expecting from “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues,” but it ends up being one of the most redeeming qualities of the movie.
What Didn’t Work:
On the first “Anchorman” movie, they filmed a ton of footage, scrapped it, then went back and did a bunch of reshoots before they ended up with the final product that everybody knows and loves. In fact, they had so much extra footage that they cut it into another Ron Burgundy movie and sold it on DVD. It’s quite apparent that the process of fine tuning the script didn’t happen on this sequel though it desperately needed it. The script for “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” feels very much like a first draft. It’s like Will Ferrell and Adam McKay hit several points in the story, didn’t know what to do, then threw something in temporarily with the intention of fixing it later. They apparently never did return to fix it.
This is especially obvious in the final 15 minutes when the entire film goes completely off the rails. It starts out promising enough when all the great cameos by major actors take place, but then the actual news anchor battle is pretty stupid. The film then concludes with a weak scene involving a shark named Doby. The ending is really just a total disaster, but there were signs throughout the rest of the film that it wasn’t going to end well. Big laughs were few and far between and the script seemed to rely too much on revisiting jokes we’d seen before. Overall, it ends up being just “okay.”
And as much as I like Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig, every one of their scenes together is incredibly painful to watch. They just weren’t very funny and Carell seems like he’s trying too hard. I was counting the seconds until their scenes were over and that’s depressing considering how much I usually love Carell.
The Bottom Line:
“Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” is more of a renter than something you should rush out to the theaters and blow a lot of money on tickets and popcorn to see. There are some fun moments, but not enough to justify the time and expense.