Time has moved on since the original Anchorman in this sequel, Ron and friends now find themselves in the 1980s, which is just as unkind as the 1970s. The plot is simple enough; Ron and his team enter into a 24-hour news channel: GNN – the first of its kind – and set the path for the new channel (and news of the 80s) until a fateful incident involving Jack Lime (or Lame) puts a stop to Ron due to jealousy and aggravation. I do not intend on saying any more of the plot, as you can just watch the film for yourself.
Due to the plot, Will Ferrell’s Ron Burgundy meets not only returning characters but also new ones such as Jack Lime (James Marsden), Linda Jackson (Meagan Good), Chani (Kristen Wiig) and GNN head Kench Allenby (Josh Lawson). Each actor does a good job at providing the over the top performances required, but really, stars of the show here (as with the first film) are Ron Burgundy and Brick Tamland (Steve Carell).
Talking of characters, each one feels just at home In the 1980s as they did in the 1970s. With perms, more women and new forms of news casting (showing a car chase) taking place. I don’t think the 80s provides as good a backdrop to the film as the 70s did in the first film, but that may just be because The Legend Continues is not as good a film as the original.
The film is just as off-the-hook and loose as the original (with a fantastic jump cut) and focusses on strange conversations and absurd scenarios for its humour just as in the first. However, Anchorman 2 is just not as funny as the original; sadly it doesn’t really come close. There are a few strong laughs dotted around, but not as many as you’d like with many jokes (for me) being killed by instant asking of why they said or did what they did.
To be honest, I have not seen the first film now in years, but many lines have stuck in my head since (Jack Black – forever hilarious). Anchorman 2 just does not have lines of the same calibre, sure, it is a funny film but I wouldn’t call it hilarious. The Legend Continues is by no means a bad film, far from it, it just is not quite as funny as I hoped it would be and some aspects come off as a bit of a let-down.
Take the fight-scene for example, it contains many amazing cameos, but the fight itself is slightly glossed over and just not as well choreographed or funny (despite Brick). In fact, the film is full of slight flaws and disappointments but still manages to come off as a good film in the end.
This is thanks largely to Will Ferrell’s screen presence, his characterisation of Burgundy is fantastic, and this film gives him chances to show his feelings on race, raising a pet shark and being a parent, he handles all things very classily (his son wearing the same clothes and acting in a similar fashion is a great touch). In fact, although it sounds cheesy, Anchorman 2 is a classy film. Most of the jokes are handled well and the majority of them are funny, it’s a nice-looking film with good cinematography and a good eye for detail and you can really tell everyone loved making the film.
It’s annoying then that the film comes off as too long at 1 hour 59 minutes. It starts well, and I would have loved to see more of the gang’s rise to fame (again) but the final third of the movie drags along as the narrative loses some of its momentum and the majority of its cast in order to focus on Ron. The last 20 or so minutes of the film become predictable, which is a shame as predictable is certainly something Anchorman is not.
The film is smart, as it acts as a mocking satire/tribute to the American news – especially the 24 hour news – Ron Burgundy, Brian Fantana, Brick Tamland and Champ Kind are a good news team and truly are anchors for the people (they even do a lot of drugs just to see what kind of effect they do have).
Despite everything though, Adam McKay and Will Ferrell crafted a decent comedy that had a lot to live up to but ultimately did not.
If you enjoyed the first film you will definitely like this one, but there are too many questioning’s of jokes, missed opportunities and a final third that drags and becomes predictable. Anchorman 2 however is still funny, classy and fantastically off-beat. It’s a shame, then, that it should – and could – have been better than it is.
Will Ferrell and co are clearly having a good time, but I’m unsure whether you’ll have as good a time as them.