At this point in the world of movie fanatics, there are two kinds of people: Those that love Will Ferrell and his trademarked brand of pompous man-child antics, and those that do not. In the great scope of all things Ferrell, his most revered creation is arguably that of sweet egomaniac Ron Burgundy; San Diego’s greatest ‘70s era newscaster.
Since Anchorman was released in 2004, legions of Ferrell-ites have clamored for more outlandish quotes, ludicrous situations, and especially: Salon quality hair. Ferrell and director Adam McKay decided to give them what they wanted and, almost ten years later, finally managed to wrangle back the entire original cast: Christina Applegate, Steve Carell, David Koechner, and “Sex Panther” himself, Paul Rudd.
The story, and I use this term very loosely, of Anchorman 2 is that Ron Burgundy has entered the ’80s losing everything: his job, his wife and son, and—most importantly—His dignity. An offer to join up with a pioneering concept, the 24-Hour Global News Network, encourages Ron to get the gang back together and journey to New York for a chance to hit the big time.
In an act of ratings desperation, Ron elects to forgo real news and instead focus on stories of American patriots, car chases and adorable animals. Essentially devolving to the lowest denominator shoots Ron and his cohorts to the top of the news game. This garners him the fame and adulation he has always craved; the attention of the African-American Station Manager, Linda Jackson (Meagan Good); and the jealous rage of fellow Anchorman Jack Lime (James Marsden). It also puts Ron in a position to show what an absentee father he has become to his sweet son, Walter.
Revisiting a film as beloved as Anchorman is a risky proposition, one that Anchorman 2 primarily succeeds in. Changing the setting to the ‘80s, interjecting race and sexual stereotypes, and letting Ferrell go for it largely pays off. For all of the cast interplay, the film truly rests on the shoulders of Ferrell’s Burgundy and he infuses the role with the same sweet, selfish idiocy he mustered in the original film almost a decade ago.
There are numerous scenes in the film that will have audiences in uproarious fits due to the comedic genius and ludicrous absurdity from the multitude of actors allowed to play in Ferrell and McKay’s sandbox. Carell in particular as Brick (as well as Brick’s new love interest in Kristen Wiig), eclipses his performance from the original film, stealing every scene he is in.
Every film of this type has its missteps, and Anchorman 2 takes its share as well. Ron’s first interracial dinner, meant to showcase his complete ignorance of stereotypes, plays more uncomfortable than clever. And while the film hits the mark repeatedly for the majority of its first 90 minutes of runtime, it completely goes off the rails for the film’s final act. Even in a world as absurd as this one, Ferrell and McKay need to learn when is a good time to reel themselves in, and the last 30 minutes are a prime example that they have yet to learn their lesson.
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues mostly delivers on the absurdist humor fans have been waiting for, and the entire cast gives it their all. Ferrell especially commits to the role, and you can tell through his performance how much he loves his own beloved character. That final act keeps the film from reaching the pedestal on which the original is placed, but you could do a lot worse than a reunion of Burgundy and friends this holiday season.
Even with its missteps, the answer is simply Yes, America. Ron Burgundy is still kind of a big deal.
3 out of 5 stars