Back for round two nine years later, “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” is a hilarious, vulgar, and over-the-top comedy featuring the same popular news team from the first film that audiences have come to love and quote in a lifetime’s worth of laughable and inappropriate one-liners.
“Anchorman 2” continues the legend of Ron Burgundy and the Channel 4 news team as they embark on a new journey in New York City. Following the first film set in early 1970s San Diego, times are changing; news stations are diversifying and starting to adopt the 24-hour news cycle; and a fresh New York station is moving forward with constant news and in desperate need of on-air personalities.
Burgundy and company accept positions at the new station and are immediately taken aback by the addition of African-American employees and new innovations in broadcasting such as 24-hour news, green screens and other technology.
Dealing with family problems, a younger and hip generation, changing journalism practices, and wanting to be the best, Burgundy and the rest of the team -- Brick Tamland, Brian Fantana, and Champ Kind -- must learn to adapt as they continue their particular brand of humor.
“Anchorman 2” features the same beloved characters from “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” as well as many great additions to the cast such as Meagan Good, James Marsden, Kristen Wiig, Dylan Baker, and more. There are just as many, if not more, cameos from various actors than the first film, as well as an overabundance of racist, sexual, offensive, pop culture and historical references, name-calling, and confrontations.
Like many sequels, this film expands on a variety of new and old characters, their personal and professional lives, rival news anchors, and the global and local effects of new journalism broadcasting.
This film has many similarities to the first one, as well as differences. Most noticeably is how naturally these actors get back into character after so many years. Just about everything that was awesome about “Anchorman” is present here, except the ridiculousness, one-liners, and dramatic performances/situations are amplified. It remains true to its predecessor, while progressing further into the lives of these characters and placing them in new situations. In a way, “Anchorman 2” uses much material from the first, including flute playing, Burgundy’s dog Baxter, love stories, news team rivalries, people splitting up or at odds with each other, and so on, but throws in a bunch of twists, new characters, and more to mix it up a bit.
On a negative note, parts of this film do feel recreated or overdone. There are clearly many elements that work here, but there are just as many things that cross the line, are taken too far, or just don’t work. It doesn’t feel as fresh as the first one, but it is undeniably comical in a certain type of way. That being said, this film won’t be for everyone, and some may be offended or simply not enjoy this type of humor. Almost every scene is just as over-dramatic as the next, and the actors, without a doubt, go all-in on their characters, whether successful or not. This sequel has several fantasy, supernatural-type, and animated or effects-driven features, as did the first film, but similarly, some of the special effects are below par.
By now, you either like or dislike Will Ferrell movies and his style of comedy. Dating back to “Saturday Night Live,” Ferrell and “Anchorman 2” co-writer/director Adam McKay have put on the same show in many different ways, using a specific formula of comedy and absurdity. From the first “Anchorman,” to films such as “Stepbrothers,” “Talladega Nights,” “The Other Guys,” “The Campaign,” and more, these collaborators have an interesting way of throwing paint at the wall to see what sticks. Obviously not every idea is going to work, but after a decade plus of working together, they basically recreate a series of funny, insane situations or stories, using very nontraditional, ludicrous characters, and go all in on their presentation, much like an episode of SNL. In “Anchorman 2,” they reach for the highest level of absurdity and improperness yet, and the result is an entertaining, hit-and-miss sequel that walks a fine line between decent and a mockery.
Few people remember that “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” was not a popular box office movie, but later became a cult classic, much like some of Ferrell’s other films. Only time will tell how this sequel is received and measures up, but chances are it will do well at the box office regardless, due to heavy marketing by Will Ferrell through a series of performances and appearances as Ron Burgundy on “Conan,” ESPN, Chrysler commercials and pretty much anywhere else you've turned in the last month. See “Anchorman 2” for yourself and decide.
Rated 3-out-of-5 stars
“Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” is rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, drug use, language and comic violence. Running time is 1 hour and 59 minutes.
Hayden Pittman is a special contributor to WFAA.com and a freelance film critic and entertainment blogger out of Dallas. More of his content can be found on YouPlusDallas.com and his author archive here. He is a film, TV, and sports enthusiast, and hopes to pursue a future in filmmaking and screenwriting. As an average, passionate film lover who rarely misses a film, his reviews are straightforward and his way with words will let you know in a simple way what he thinks. Don’t like what he has to say? Let him know at firstname.lastname@example.org.