Film review: Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (15, 119 min)
If it’s already broken why bother fixing it?
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and dogs don’t come much mangier than chauvinistic, self-absorbed television newsman, Ron Burgundy.
Will Ferrell’s buffoonish alter-ego, who kicked up his flares in the media satire Anchorman - The Legend Of Ron Burgundy, staggers bleary-eyed into the 1980s in Adam McKay’s overlong and sporadically hilarious sequel.
Like its predecessor, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is more miss than hit, allowing a number of running jokes to wheeze far beyond a point of comfort. Nowhere is this more pronounced than in Ron’s treatment of his new African American boss, Linda Jackson (Meagan Good). His initial reaction - to scream “black!” to her face - continues ad nauseum and kindles a pointless scene in which Ron merrily peddles racial stereotypes around the dinner table with Linda’s horrified relatives.
At almost two hours, McKay’s film is overstuffed with superfluous nonsense that will delight only ardent fans of the 2004 film, which transformed Burgundy into an icon of the media-saturated modern age.
At the beginning of the sequel, the eponymous broadcaster falls on hard times, unable to realise “what God put Ron Burgundy on this earth for: to have salon-quality hair and to read the news”.
Producer Freddy Schap (Dylan Baker) throws Ron a career lifeline by asking him to join the ranks of New York City’s first 24-hour station, Global News Network (GNN).
Thus, the rejuvenated big man and his team - field reporter Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), sports reporter Champ Kind (David Koechner) and weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carell) – jump into a campervan bound for the Big Apple.
Current golden boy, Jack Lime (James Marsden), proves a tough adversary though and refuses to give up his GNN crown without a fight.
Against the odds, Ron achieves record ratings and he uses his celebrity status to rebuild bridges with Veronica (Christina Applegate) and his son Walter (Judah Nelson). Meanwhile, Brick courts a hapless GNN secretary called Chani (Kristen Wiig).
Like its naive and socially inept protagonist, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues has no clear idea where it’s going and stumbles from mishap to misstep. Ferrell and co seem to be having a blast, always one giggle away from corpsing, while Carell and Wiig are an adorable pairing.
As in the first film, the sequel reaches a crescendo with a battle royale involving rival news crews that briefly flings a pompous BBC reporter (Sacha Baron Cohen) into the melee.
In terms of quotable one-liners, pickings are slimmer, but co-writers Ferrell and McKay hit gold with Brick’s stalker and a biting aside about Ron’s night on the town with his ladykiller pals.
There is a generous amount of recycling of tired gags to pad out the running time including a reprise of Ron’s jazz flute.
If it’s already broke, why fix it?
Comedy/Romance. Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, David Koechner, Steve Carell, Meagan Good, James Marsden, Kristen Wiig, Greg Kinnear, Harrison Ford, Dylan Baker, Judah Nelson. Director: Adam McKay.