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Review: Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

Dec. 18, 2013by: Eric Walkuski

PLOT: It's the 80s, and Ron Burgundy and his news team are now in New York and making a name for themselves as part of the first 24-hour cable news network. But Ron's life is in shambles: he's split from his wife, having a hard time connecting with his son and feeling the pressure from a competing anchor. Can Ron persevere and keep it classy?

REVIEW: The only two things one need ask of a movie like ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES are, be funny, appeal to those who liked the first one. I'm confidant in saying that the Adam McKay film is certainly successful at both, if not more often the latter. McKay and star/co-writer Will Ferrell certainly know their audience, and their buffoon of a lead character has just as many bizarre rants and nonsensical catchphrases as he did the first time around. There are also plenty of surreal tangents that highjack the "plot" for their own sake, a flood of celebrity cameos that seems to have no limit, and the assurance that the people on hand are actually very smart at being very stupid. No one captains a ship of witty/sophomoric silliness quite like the McKay/Ferrell team.

But like most sequels, ANCHORMAN 2 definitely lacks a bit of freshness. Perhaps it's the very fact that the creative team has taken the "Legend Continues" subtitle to heart too much, as the film ultimately feels like it's run out of places to go the more it chugs along. It's also at least 20 minutes too long; I don't care what anyone says, a movie like ANCHORMAN 2 should not have a running time of two hours. Even if the movie stayed sharp until the very end - which it doesn't - almost no comedy can sustain that length.

Until the wheels come off, however, ANCHORMAN 2 is a lively and entertaining experience, held together by the return of the principal characters from the first: San Diego's Channel 4 News Team, which includes the still-sexist Burgundy, pervy Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), racist/bigoted/clueless Champ Kind (David Koechner) and abnormal weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carell). This time the boys are in early-80s New York working for a 24 Hours news channel after Ron splits from wife Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate). Their new boss is a black woman (Meagan Good) which of course they can hardly wrap their heads around, but Ron quickly becomes enamored with her take-charge attitude. Giving him trouble, however, is handsome anchor Jack Lime (James Marsden), whom the network has brought in to be the #1 guy.

The film is given an opportunity to shrewdly poke fun at cable news, specifically Fox News (their new home is run by a cocky Aussie), as Ron uncannily becomes a purveyor of sensationalist non-news stories like car chases and cute animals while Veronica can't make an interview with Yasser Arafat grab anyone's attention. But ANCHORMAN isn't really in the satire game; its bread and butter is in the wacky and random. Hence why there are discussions about serving fried bats to customers at a chicken restaurant, or a prolonged slow-mo car crash, or a subplot about Ron going blind and living in a lighthouse. The sequel is overstuffed with visual gags and quirky asides; some hit, some miss. Like any movie in the joke-a-minute game, ANCHORMAN 2's success is judged almost on a joke-to-joke basis. If there are four or five solid laughs in a row, things are going swimmingly. If there are a handful of duds, or unexceptional bits, sequentially, the movie feels stale. This comedy goes through bouts of both. There's no doubt that the first half is where the major laughs mainly reside (Ron reassembling his old team is a particularly terrific sequence), but once it enters the home stretch a kind of manic overload sets in. One can't help but assume McKay and Ferrell were able to do as much as they wanted to, and leave as much in. This was probably a case where no one said, "Maybe let's just save this for the outtakes."

The returning cast is doing the same schtick they were in the first one, so of course they're reliable. (Koechner is a particular favorite of mine, for whatever reason.) Carell's clueless Brick, perhaps by necessity of the actor's current leading man status, has been given a bit more to do and a subplot involving his burgeoning romance with a woman (Kristin Wiig) who is his moronic female equivalent. It's unfortunate that this stuff doesn't work, and Wiig is wasted in a role that simply requires her to mumble and wear a dopey expression. Most of their scenes together are indicative of ANCHORMAN 2's problematic tendency to let a sequence last a few beats too long, like McKay didn't want to cut any the actors' ad-libbed non-sequitors. But when the jokes aren't landing, they've got to be trimmed.

Still, I don't want to give the impression ANCHORMAN 2 doesn't have big laughs; it most certainly does. More than that, it has the same winning, harmless attitude of the first film. Like its lead character, these films say and do a lot of dumb, sometimes offensive things (and have a tendency to be long-winded), but they have good hearts and want nothing more than to please. Would I like to see more Ron Burgundy? Ah hell, I can't resist a guy who says "By the hymen of Olivia Newton-John!"

Source: JoBlo.com

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4:01AM on 12/22/2013

Fucking loved it.

Liked the first one ok but this one was hilarious. Chicken of the caves.
Liked the first one ok but this one was hilarious. Chicken of the caves.
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9:01AM on 12/20/2013

I hate to say this, but it was as good as an Adam Sandler comedy.

It was AWFUL....I only mildly laughed, smiled, 3, maybe 4 times. This movie was an absolute piece of shit!
It was AWFUL....I only mildly laughed, smiled, 3, maybe 4 times. This movie was an absolute piece of shit!
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+2
11:49AM on 12/19/2013
I found it a lot more funny than the first movie. I think the problem with this review is the (barely veiled) dislike the reviewer had of the first movie. It used to be that the reviews on here were usually spot on when they were done by JimmyO, Bumbray, and Shirley, but lately I've found the newest batch of reviewers not to be trusted in their opinion.
I found it a lot more funny than the first movie. I think the problem with this review is the (barely veiled) dislike the reviewer had of the first movie. It used to be that the reviews on here were usually spot on when they were done by JimmyO, Bumbray, and Shirley, but lately I've found the newest batch of reviewers not to be trusted in their opinion.
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+0
2:13PM on 12/18/2013
Will definitely see this this weekend. The first film, while I didn't catch it in theaters, has become a guilty pleasure. This is the kind of film I go to see that has no other purpose than to make me laugh at random silliness. It's something of the equivalent to surfing youtube for random videos. Albeit, these are well written random gags with great comedic actors. The first film was great for it's quotability and catchy scenes that you could talk about with friends. I expect much the same
Will definitely see this this weekend. The first film, while I didn't catch it in theaters, has become a guilty pleasure. This is the kind of film I go to see that has no other purpose than to make me laugh at random silliness. It's something of the equivalent to surfing youtube for random videos. Albeit, these are well written random gags with great comedic actors. The first film was great for it's quotability and catchy scenes that you could talk about with friends. I expect much the same here. The trailer was pretty entertaining, so I am looking forward to this film.
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1:45PM on 12/18/2013

Stevemoto

Don't listen to this Eric guy, the Brick and his girl sences were some of the best parts.
Don't listen to this Eric guy, the Brick and his girl sences were some of the best parts.
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1:20PM on 12/18/2013

The trailers sucked, so I don't have much hope this movie.

Just because the characters say and do stupid things doesn't mean it will be funny. Not much thought was put into the writing for the sequel.
Just because the characters say and do stupid things doesn't mean it will be funny. Not much thought was put into the writing for the sequel.
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2:20PM on 12/18/2013
I agree about the trailers. None of the humor seemed natural.
I agree about the trailers. None of the humor seemed natural.
7:56AM on 12/19/2013
Agreed, although one of the trailers, not the ones where there just saying thing made me have some hope.
Agreed, although one of the trailers, not the ones where there just saying thing made me have some hope.
12:48PM on 12/18/2013
You didn't spell Burgundy right, hence I refuse to take your criticism seriously (joking, I personally gave it an 8/10 being a fan of the original).

I still think this is the worst review I've come across for the movie:
[link]
You didn't spell Burgundy right, hence I refuse to take your criticism seriously (joking, I personally gave it an 8/10 being a fan of the original).

I still think this is the worst review I've come across for the movie:
[link]
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11:50AM on 12/18/2013
by the beard of Zeus that's awesome!
by the beard of Zeus that's awesome!
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+6
11:49AM on 12/18/2013

Saw it last night

Generally, I agree with this review. The first half was funnier and it slows down a bit when (THiS SUBPLOT WAS ALREADY SPOILED IN THE REVIEW) he goes blind.

But it picks back up again towards the end. As a huge fan of the first one, overall I was very happy with it. My packed theater seemed to agree. They can make as many sequels as they want and I'd pay to see every one.
Generally, I agree with this review. The first half was funnier and it slows down a bit when (THiS SUBPLOT WAS ALREADY SPOILED IN THE REVIEW) he goes blind.

But it picks back up again towards the end. As a huge fan of the first one, overall I was very happy with it. My packed theater seemed to agree. They can make as many sequels as they want and I'd pay to see every one.
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11:48AM on 12/18/2013
7/10 is fine by me. Going to watch it anyway.
7/10 is fine by me. Going to watch it anyway.
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11:46AM on 12/18/2013
A 7 out of 10 is a good rating. About on par where I put the first film at.
A 7 out of 10 is a good rating. About on par where I put the first film at.
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+0
11:31AM on 12/18/2013
It was never going to be as good as the first, but as long as there are a bunch of laughs I'm game.
It was never going to be as good as the first, but as long as there are a bunch of laughs I'm game.
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11:28AM on 12/18/2013
"By the hymen of Olivia Newton-John!" hahahahha
"By the hymen of Olivia Newton-John!" hahahahha
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11:17AM on 12/18/2013
Glad that you like it on the whole. I didn't enjoy Anchorman on first viewing; it took me a while but now I truly appreciate how funny it is and am looking forward to this one. How was Harrison Ford in this?
Glad that you like it on the whole. I didn't enjoy Anchorman on first viewing; it took me a while but now I truly appreciate how funny it is and am looking forward to this one. How was Harrison Ford in this?
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11:15AM on 12/18/2013
Can't wait. Have loved every piece of footage and advertising that I have seen so far.
Can't wait. Have loved every piece of footage and advertising that I have seen so far.
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