News nonsense still a hoot
119 minutes (M)
Adam McKay ( Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy)
Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, David Koechner
½ ‘‘I’M going to do the thing that God put Ron Burgundy on this Earth to do: have salon quality hair and read the news.’’ That’s right, comedy fans, the sequel you have been wanting for almost a decade is finally here.
Ron Burgundy is back in the big- screen buffoonery business.
Has it been worth the wait for Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues? Yeah, pretty much. Bearing in mind the original Anchorman mined a rich vein of surrealist humour that saw it become a modern classic, this solid follow-up does not let the side down.
Yes, that winning formula is repeated rather than revitalised. Nevertheless, there are enough big, bizarre laughs on offer to justify jumping on the Burgundy bandwagon a second time.
The first act of The Legend Continues is all about reerecting scaffolding and renewing acquaintances.
As we begin, Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) and Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) are the best married newsreading team in the business. Then Veronica is given a solo slot on a national network, Ron is given the sack and that marriage is given the heave-ho.
Ron’s stocks sink so low he ends up compering a dolphin show at an aquatic theme park. Just as he about to quite literally end it all, a lifeline is dangled overhead. It is the dawn of the 1980s, and a history-making 24-hour news channel is about to launch. Does Ron want in? No need to answer that. One ridiculous road trip later, Team Burgundy is back in full force. Which means investigative reporter Brian Fantana ( Paul Rudd) must sacrifice his lucrative new posting as a cat photographer.
Sportscaster Champ Kind (David Koechner) has to give up a fast-food franchise where fried bats are passed off as fried chicken. And dim weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carell) must bounce back from his recent death.
Once in front of the cameras at the new GNN channel, Ron sets about reinventing American news with a radical mix of stories and segments never before seen.
Burgundy and his team are also arrested for smoking cocaine at the newsdesk.
Though true spontaneity is not always the strong suit of Anchorman 2 — the improvised anarchy of the original surfaces only briefly — there is a relentless pursuit of stupidity for stupidity’s sake that is simply a pleasure to witness. Ron goes blind. Ron raises a killer shark from birth. Ron pays for perms for everyone. Ron thinks that psychiatrists are psychics. You get the picture. And you will get the jokes, of which there are hundreds ( which explains the marathon two-hour running time).
There are moments deep into the final act — a plot line about Ron’s absence from the life of his young son gets too much emphasis for too little outcome — where the sequel goes close to outstaying its welcome.
Hang in there. The best is yet to come: a brilliant cameoheavy reprise of the first film’s impeccably odd skirmish between news teams.
The rules of combat are warped into another dimension with the arrival of autocue assassins spearheaded by the likes of Jim Carrey, Sacha Baron Cohen, Kanye West, Tina Fey and Liam Neeson.
And Harrison Ford mutates into a were-hyena.
It is an hilarious scene that guarantees Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues leaves a legacy preserved.
David Koechner is Champ Kind, Paul Rudd is Brian Fantana, Will Ferrell is Ron Burgundy and Steve Carell is Brick Tamland in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues