Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
Director: Adam McKay.
Cast: Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, David Koechner, Kristen Wiig, Meagan Good, Christina Applegate, James Marsden, Dylan Baker.
IT may come as a surprise, but the first Anchorman movie was not an immediate box-office smash.
It wasn't until the DVD audience latched on to it that the adventures of Ron Burgundy and co became one of the most quoted movies of all time, resulting in lines such as "I love lamp", "Boy, that escalated quickly", and "60 per cent of the time, it works every time" regularly invading conversations and the internet.
Maybe that's why it has taken nine years for a sequel to emerge - the first film was still building momentum for a lot of that time.
For Anchorman 2, the plot - and I use the word 'plot' very, very loosely - focuses on Ferrell's moustachioed newsreader Burgundy hitting rock bottom and attempting to claw his way back to the top courtesy of fledgling TV network GNN.
GNN, led by fiery award-winning producer Linda Jackson (Good), is the first 24-hour news network, and Burgundy and his team - daft weatherman Brick Tamland (Carell), insane sports reporter Champ Kind (Koechner) and lothario journalist Brian Fantana (Rudd) - are along for the ride.
There are also some subplots about Burgundy attempting to repair relationships with his wife Veronica (Applegate) and his son Walter (Judah Nelson), a rivalry between Burgundy and handsome fellow anchorman Jack Lime (Marsden), Brick's office romance with equally odd receptionist Chani (Wiig), and some mostly pointless waffle about Aussie network owner and media tycoon Kench Allenby (Josh Lawson).
But Anchorman 2's success doesn't hinge on its storyline, which is fortunate because it ranges from the bizarre to the bland, such as Burgundy and his son raising a shark called Doby (bizarre), and anything involving Lawson's Allenby (bland).
This film is about the laughs and the antics. There are certain things fans are probably expecting in the sequel - a bit of jazz flute, Brick's nutty non-sequiturs, a large-scale news team battle royale - and they're all here, plus the laughs come in sporadic but frequent-enough waves.
In this sense, the sequel is a success. The dialogue is quotable, the gags hit more than they miss, Brick's idiocy is a highlight (particularly his encounters with green screen and a funeral), and the cameo-heavy fight at the end is worth the ticket price alone.
Is it as good as the first one? The short answer is no.
The longer answer is that while much of the humour and situations feel interchangeable, the first film moved at a steadier pace and with a better winning joke ratio, whereas Anchorman 2 suddenly grinds to a halt in the latter half and features a lot more jokes that miss their mark. A particularly wasted opportunity is Lawson's Allenby, who looks like Richard Branson but acts like Rupert Murdoch and had the potential to be an interesting character but who just becomes part of the film's applaudable moral about the importance of the news and what the media should be doing in our society. Surely "our Josh" deserves better.
The cast are at ease returning to their roles, and Carell gets more screen time, his star having risen in the period between films. The reliance on improvisation is unfortunately more obvious this time, evident in the far-from-seemless editing within scenes.
But no one who goes to see this film cares about that stuff, do they? They just want to laugh at Burgundy's ego-driven idiocy and Brick's endless stream of 'what the?' moments.
With that in mind, it's perhaps easiest to simply say this - if you love Anchorman, you'll love Anchorman 2.
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