It has been nine years since the first Anchorman and, to Will Ferrell's credit, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues feels neither like a money grab in bringing back what is likely his most beloved and enduring character nor like a film of cinematic desperation borne out of Ferrell's decreased box-office clout.
No, actually Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues feels an awful lot like the product of some of Hollywood's funniest performers having hashed out enough bits and gags and semi-stories that coming back together and making this all happen once again just plain made sense
This is weird, really, because actually there's very little in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues that actually makes any sense and that's actually what makes it all work a vast majority of the time.
The story, and I use that word very loosely here, has Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) hired to anchor the night shift at a brand new all-news cable network known as GNN and, yes, pretty much all the jokes in the film play it that obviously. He gets his old team back together which, if you've been living under a rock, includes ultra-stylish reporter Fantana (Paul Rudd), sportscaster Champ Kind (David Koechner), and weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carell). While Burgundy is as buffoonish as ever, his style wins over viewers and attracts the attention of nemesis with flair Jack Lime (James Marsden).
Burgundy has married his former co-anchor, Veronica Corningstone (Christine Applegate), and the two have a son (Judah Nelson). Kristen Wiig is here and hilarious as ever as a rather off-kilter secretary, while Meagan Good is a hoot as Burgundy's tough-as-nails boss. Native Hoosier Greg Kinnear rounds out the major players in a sub-plot that really shouldn't work but does.
Director Adam McKay co-writes the film with Ferrell and their frequent collaborations pay off here as the film feels remarkably consistent even if the film also feels like a non-stop jokefest more concerned with punchlines than plot threads. The original film's most epic scene, a laugh-out-loud funny rumble between competing news teams, is even bigger and better and badder and funnier here.
It likely won't come as a surprise to you that there are a boat load of cameos here, this is a Will Ferrell film after all, but they are used wisely and actually, for the most part, contribute to the film's spontaneity and inspired energy. If you've been paying attention to the media lately, then you're already aware that Ferrell has been showing up all over the place doing advanced publicity for Anchorman 2, including an absolutely awesome turn as a co-anchor up in the Dakotas that goes from surprisingly straightlaced to downright insane over the course of a single newscast.
The same is largely true here. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues remains largely faithful to what made the original film a beloved and instantly quotable comedy. While this go around is likely to be less quotable than its predecessor, anyone who appreciated the original film is likely to leave the theater this time around hoping it's not another nine years before we get to visit with Ron Burgundy once again.
Maybe Ferrell can do a Spanish version next time around?
That sure would be something to Si.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic