Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues – A (spoiler free) Review

January 9, 2014 3:37 pm

Left to right: Paul Rudd, Will Ferrell, David Koechner, Steve Carell

In the build-up to the release of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues on December 18th, I wrote this article on Will Ferrell’s method acting publicity campaign to reinvigorate the popularity of the comedy franchise that started way back in 2004 with Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. The film is bombastic, funny and justifies its existence which is more than you can say for some other titles.

In a market of cinema saturated with money grabbing sequel franchises, it is a surprise that Anchorman 2 took so long to be made and released. Complete with a $50 million budget – incidentally twice the size of the 2004 film – the characters native to San Diego (“I think it’s pronounced San Dee-ah-go”) found themselves in New York City in varying degrees of success. Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) was happily married to Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) and co-anchors of a prestigious news channel in the Big Apple.

Cue the first eye-popping cameo as a mumbling Harrison Ford promotes Veronica as the first nightly news anchor and fires Ron for continued sloppy performances. This sets the film’s events in motion, inspiring Burgundy to reunite the KVWN news team in a bid to get back on the television reading the news. The chemistry is on point between Ferrell and co-stars Steve Carell, Paul Rudd and David Koechner, delivering comic set pieces, banter and one liners – Carell in particular thanks to Brick Tamland’s character – that threaten to choke you on your popcorn should you attempt to laugh with your mouth full. Christina Applegate also puts in a performance that reminds the audience that this is not just a man’s world.

Success comes to the KVWN news team and for Ron Burgundy that means PERMS!

The plot gathers momentum but is not quite at home in its comic setting. The audience’s allegiance rarely slips from the quartet’s side even though there are moments of unlikeable behaviour displayed by Ron and you get the sense that the melodrama is a little overblown, dragging on as a result of a seemingly generous editing process. If you can forgive the clichéd and predictable fall from grace and back to redemption plot arc of the film then the 119 minute running time will whiz by with all of the fun you were expecting. I’m just going to say bats and cats and leave it out there for you to get the reference when you see the film.

Fans of the news team fracas from the first film will not be disappointed as Anchorman 2 boasts an ambitious follow up complete with introductions of other news teams with some cameos that snowball excitement for every appearance topping the NSFW one-liner delivered by a tanned, moustache wearing Ben Stiller. In a disaster porn filled visual palette of some of last year’s blockbusters, it is refreshing to see a good ol’ fashioned punch up between human beings without the fate of the world at stake. Its climax and conclusion did provoke a genuine cheer from myself as you see what they were fighting for frames later.

Adam McKay’s film is the beneficiary of a box office performance breaking $144 million that is sure to continue rising that demonstrates the appeal these characters still hold in the consciousness of the movie-going public. I had the (dis)pleasure of attending a screening of the film with some friends and our raucous laughter drew many looks of derision from people either not enjoying the film as much  or buzz-kills that forgot the memo that being entertained by a comedy is certainly allowed. So to sum it up, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is a solid film, well worth seeing and will most likely generate enough revenue for a third instalment. Whilst there is room to tie it all up in a third film my fingers are crossed that it does not happen for fear of unnecessarily sullying two good outings for the KVWN four.

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