Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is directed by Adam McKay and stars Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, and Steve Carrell.
Anchorman. A cult comedy classic since it debuted in 2004. It was outrageous, spontaneous, and flat out funny because of these two reasons. It was a group of people doing what they did best; ad libbing and playing off one another, serving a simple, but relatable story. The problem with making a sequel to such a film is that people often hold the original in such high regard, the follow up can’t possibly live up to the predecessor. It isn’t always the case, but usually it is, especially with a cult film that relied so much on in the moment humor.
So here we are with Anchorman 2, and the result is not pretty at all. This is a thrown together, poorly constructed, comedy film with stale and cheesy jokes. The story begins with Burgundy and Corningstone being called into the office of their superior played by Harrison Ford, in one of the many cameos in this film that makes you wonder how such a person agreed to partake in this movie (outside of money). Corningstone is promoted, and Burgundy is outraged. So much so, that he separates from her and their son and moves back to San Diego. But wait, he gets an offer from a new upcoming news network. It is a network that will be round the clock news, called GNN (clever poke at CNN.) He decides to round up his old news team and shoot for the stars and ratings, in an effort to upstage Corningstone. Stop me where you’ve heard this one before.
Along the way, we’re treated to dry humor amongst the old gang. These actors have all gone on to respectable heights in their own careers. They didn’t even seem to be interested in this reunion. Upon arriving at GNN, the new competition is revealed. Pretty boy Jack Lime, played by James Marsden, is all the talk of the station. Marsden doesn’t really have much to work with, and he is merely around to pose some sort of threat to Burgundy. This so called competition is relegated to a cheap bet gag that yields few smiles. When Burgundy and his team learn they will be the graveyard news shift, they decide to spin in a new direction. They don’t want to report the real news. Rather, they want to report what it is they deem news, and feed that to the people as if it is important and relevant (satire, anyone?). Of course, this is revolutionary, and soon our protagonist is the main man once again.
All doesn’t continue on so well though. Burgundy’s boss, Linda Jackson, is played by Megan Good. They develop a relationship out of nowhere after hostile meetings. Then, when the two go to a Jackson family dinner, the worst happens. Burgundy begins to ignorantly act in typical African American slandering. It is supposed to be funny, but really, how long can “Oh, white guy dancing on the racial sensitivity line” go on for? The jokes are more poor taste than they are funny. Frankly, they played out the whole white/black stereotype conflict in these characters’ first encounter.
Burgundy’s relationship with his son is also estranged. His son adores him, but Burgundy never has time for him. But alas, a tragedy occurs. Burgundy goes blind, literally. But when you go blind, your damaged relationships become fixed. The Burgundys are a big happy family again. Of course, Burgundy is soon cured of his blindness. I’m not making any of this up. When he falls back into his old patterns, he is faced with a choice, his family or his job, which is where our film begins to reach its conclusion. We’re treated to one last gag scene, which is recycled directly from the first film, (side note, several jokes are literally replayed from the first movie, one of many negatives about this picture.) A couple of the faces that pop up will result in a chuckle or two, but there is nothing that can save this movie. By this point, you’ll just be wondering when this movie is actually going to end.
Too long, lacking any comic pizzazz or improv genius of the first, this movie just seems like it was literally thrown together just because it was possible to do so. Every joke delivered seemed to have the undertone of “we’re going to make this funnier than the first.” The problem is, that isn’t accomplished. The story structure is bland, and is all over the place. It doesn’t seem to have anyone fully invested in it, and because of this, it suffers. The familiar faces don’t seem to care, and therefore the new faces are left stuck on this ride. Hopefully, the legend doesn’t continue.
Rating: 1.5 stars