Big laughs, but it runs out of gas. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is hit-and-miss with jokes, yet what bugs me is that the miss jokes come with too much of a thud. I would belly-laugh one moment, and then feel dead silence for a couple minutes at a time. But come on, this is Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy! And David Koechner, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell are all back! And Christina Applegate (as Veronica Corningstone) is sorta back(!). Burgundy and Corningstone are married, are co-anchors, but it is Veronica who gets a big promotion, which leads to a marital separation. But let me stop talking about the plot. What I really want to tell you is that “Anchorman 2” has none of the pizzazz and bluster of the promos that have been running on TV and viral segments in the last several weeks. Adam McKay, who has the touch of dingy old fuzz, is the director of this comedy as well as most Ferrell comedies. Has somebody else actually directed the much livelier teaser trailers and promos?
Let me tell in brief about some of the jokes that didn’t work for me. Burgundy becomes a drunkard Sea World announcer who gets fired after making some off-color remarks, something we’ve seen before plenty of times of before in Ferrell comedies. Burgundy gets hired for a first-ever around-the-clock news channel (this sequel is set in 1980) and makes a bitter rivalry with co-broadcaster Jack Lime (James Marsden), but their verbal sparring repeats the same jokes basically. Idiot weatherman Brick Tamland (Carell) finds love with a dweeb secretary (Kristen Wiig) but the dork-love humor is grating and endless. Back to Burgundy, he becomes a network star but falls to a handicap that sidelines him – leading to extended thud moments.
I found two interesting themes, although I raise an eyebrow at my own description “interesting.” (I don’t think anybody is coming to this movie to find something interesting, we just want to laugh.) One, Burgundy becomes the founder of car chase anchor coverage and other infotainment non-news as news, amidst lots of his producers’ skepticism. Two, Burgundy is shamelessly racist but his African-American producer Linda Jackson (Meagan Good, foxy) seduces this irresistible chauvinist stud (opposites attract?). The result is a family dinner scene filled with extreme racist jive talk that I found uproariously racist, err, uproariously funny. I admit that I’ve actually already read other critics’ reviews that have found this scene to be beneath bad taste. What can I say? I laughed. The ignorance of nincompoop bigot-chauvenists like Burgundy is funnier when it reveals greater and greater ignorance.
I also laughed at a brand new battle royale in the park between anchors where the stare-downs are funnier than the actual action pay-off. We get a lot of look-who’s-there cameos.
Movies like “Anchorman 2,” I think, are best enjoyed later at home where you can walk to the fridge during scenes that don’t work for you, or talk and banter with friends and family while watching it. If you do go to the theater, you’re going to laugh big (in spots) – especially if you’re a big fan of the original. Hmm. I hope it meets your expectations. I was just hoping the sequel would have more pizzazz, and also, didn’t feel so clumsily patched together.
119 Minutes. Rated PG-13.
COMEDY / GOOFY / CRUDE HUMOR / WEEKEND VIEWING DEBAUCHERY
Film Cousins: “UHF” (1989); “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” (2004); “Blades of Glory” (2007); “The Campaign” (2012).